New Delhi: A protest march against the recently-passed Citizenship (Amendment) Act, held by students of Jamia Millia Islamia in South Delhi, became violent Sunday evening and eventually turned the upmarket New Friends Colony into a battlezone. At least four DTC buses, a fire tender and several other vehicles were set ablaze and damaged by the miscreants, who even threw stones at the police personnel, who in return resorted to a lathicharge and fired teargas shells.
Jamia’s chief proctor claimed the police later forcibly entered the campus as no permission had been taken and both staff and students were beaten up. At Jantar Mantar, students from the Northeast states protested against the CAA, and termed it as “anti-Constitution” and a threat to the identities of indigenous people in the region.
The Jamia students, however, distanced themselves from the violence in parts of South Delhi and blamed locals for the incident. The BJP was quick to blame the Aam Aadmi Party for the violence, but local AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan denied these accusations outright.
It all started with local hooligans, with faces covered, hijacking the students’ march. They set vehicles ablaze and threw stones at the police when they tried to stop them from marching towards Jantar Mantar. Several people, including policemen and two fire brigade personnel, were also injured. In evening, the situation was under control at Jamia Millia. The police said it was a violent mob, and some of them had been detained.
The situation deteriorated further when the protesters torched four DTC buses and started throwing stones at the police. The violence led to massive traffic jams all across South Delhi. Huge traffic snarls were seen all through the day, from Ashram to Friends Colony to Kalindi Kunj. The police diverted traffic from the vicinity as the pitched battles continued. For over an hour, both the carriageways on Mathura Road opposite New Friends Colony were blocked by demonstrators and the traffic police tweeted that all movement was closed from the Okhla Underpass to Sarita Vihar due to the demonstration.
Later in the evening, the Delhi police entered the Jamia campus and blocked the gates to nab some “outsiders” who had entered the premises to hide. Both the Jamia students’ community and the Teachers’ Association have disassociated themselves from the violence and arson. The students claimed that “certain” local elements had “disrupted” their protest and indulged in violence. A Jamia student said the police tried to disperse the protesters by resorting to a lathi charge and firing teargas shells. He said some of the “outsiders” had run towards the campus, and the police personnel entered the campus and blocked the gates to nab the miscreants.
The Delhi Metro closed the entry and exit gates of the Sukhdev Vihar, Jamia Millia Islamia, Okhla Vihar, Jasola Vihar, Shaheen Bagh and Gate No. 3 of Ashram station. The Metro trains did not halt at these stations.
Soon after the violence broke out, the Jamia students disassociated themselves from the incident, saying they had repeatedly maintained their protests were peaceful and non-violent. The statement said: “We have time and again maintained that our protests are peaceful and non-violent. We stand by this approach and condemn any party involved in violence. We have maintained calm even when students have been lathicharged and some women protesters have been badly beaten up... Violence by certain elements was an attempt to vilify and discredit genuine protests.”
In another statement, the university said the violence was triggered by locals and not during the student agitation. Jamia has already announced its winter vacation and put off the semester examinations after a clash between the police and students on Friday. It also urged its students to stay away from such “directionless” protests led by local political leaders....