Chandan Kumar, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia who was named by the Delhi Police in the Jamia violence case, on January 28 alleged that he was threatened and intimidated by the officials who had summoned him for interrogation. Kumar, a student activist from All India Students' Association, said that the police officials allegedly breached the protocol under Rule 166 of Criminal Procedure Code and seized his phone during the interrogation.
The violence unleashed by the Delhi Police in Jamia Millia Islamia on December 15 had left many students injured, and campus building and other properties vandalised. Post the violence, the police booked student activists and local leaders for allegedly inciting the violence. The horrific stories narrated by students revealed that not only the campus was under siege for hours but the officials also used communal slurs against the students of the prestigious university. Recently, Jamia University moved the court after the police did not file any FIR for vandalism and attack.
Talking to NewsClick, Kumar said, “I was summoned for interrogation on January 23. When I reached the Crime Branch at Chanakyapuri, the junior lawyer accompanying me was not allowed inside the station at the time of interrogation. I was interrogated from 11:40 AM till around 7:30 PM on January 25 by police officials who were in plain clothes, without being provided any food. Then, I was pressured into revealing the passcode of my mobile phone. Following this, the phone was taken by the police officer, who removed the phone lock feature and then indicated that my phone has now been seized by the investigating agency.”
Also read: Police Crackdown at Jamia Unauthorised, Unjustified and Excessive: Fact Finding Report
Chandan further alleged that the tone of the interrogating officials was not only humiliating but also threatening. He said, “The police officials handed me a questionnaire containing questions like, ‘did your speech incite any violence? Where were you when the violence took place on January 13 and January 15?’ etc. Then, they moved to moral policing with questions like, ‘Did your father send you to Delhi for organising protest? How will your sister get married if you will keep involving in protest.’ And finally, threatened me with the statements like, ‘You belong to jail and you will soon land there’.”
Kumar has now moved a Delhi court seeking magisterial intervention in the matter. Talking about the issue, he said, “It has been more than a month since the officials of Delhi Police and para military forces wreaked havoc in the university and beat the students mercilessly. Several students were admitted in the hospital for several days. One student even lost his eye. I personally received five stitches on my head. Instead of arresting the culprit policemen, the police is now harassing us to divert the matter."
The petition filed by Kumar argues, “The continued retention of the mobile phone of the applicant, who is presently being treated as a witness, having been served with a notice under Section 160 of the CrPC, is a violation of the fundamental right of the Applicant to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution. Such forcible obtaining of the passcode of the Applicant is itself violative of basic procedure, and assuming that the Applicant is being viewed as an accused, being named as such in the FIR, is a violation of the fundamental right of the Applicant under Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India."
Commenting on the case, criminal lawyer Satyendra Mishra told NewsClick,"The action taken by the Delhi Police breaches all rules under the Criminal Procedure Code and the officials must explain it. If they served the notice under Section 160 of CrPC, they cannot seize any of the belongings."
Delhi Police officials could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
Also read: Jamia Violence: Delhi HC Refuses Interim Protection to Students, Shamed by Lawyers