NEW DELHI -- Delhi Police were on a backfoot on Thursday as students from various colleges in Delhi University protested in front of the police headquarters in ITO. Special commissioner of police (law & order - north) SBK Singh faced a volley of tough questions from protesting students, who alleged that the local police in north Delhi was "hand-in-glove" with members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
"We'll get the case transferred to crime branch," assured Special CP Singh on Thursday, addressing students outside the police headquarters. "We'll be very impartial, don't worry."
A case under sections 147 (rioting), 183 (taking of property by the lawful authority of a public servant), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code has been registered at Maurice Nagar police station.
Students alleged that the local police from Maurice Nagar allowed the violence to take place, and even lathi-charged students who were holding a peaceful protest in front of the police station. Singh said he could not say who ordered the lathi-charge. "I did not order it. I can't tell you the name of the person who did," he told the crowd.
Many students alleged that Wednesday's incident was a one-sided violent act, and not a "clash". They alleged that students were attacked by both members of the ABVP and police and they did not retaliate.
"How were ABVP guys allowed to stand on top of police vans? We have photos of them, we have proof," one student asked Special CP Singh. Students complained that the Maurice Nagar Station House Officer (SHO) did not protect the students, but instead let his police force assault everyone, including women students.
Students raised slogans demanding a copy of the FIR registered after Wednesday's violence that injured at least 25 people. They also demanded a public notice from the cops, and a way to send photos, videos, and accounts of the violence they faced in the Delhi University campus.
"Police did not see any difference between men and women. What kind of justice is this?" one student asked. "It is your responsibility to file multiple FIRs. You cannot club ours with ABVP's."
The police said that those who were injured on Wednesday included members of police and ABVP. This elicited angry booing from the crowd, who asked for action against the local police for their mishandling of the situation. Joint commissioner of police Dependra Pathak told journalists that local police had behaved "unprofessionally" and action would be taken against them after an enquiry.
Students also asked for separate FIRs after ABVP leaders allegedly confined them inside Ramjas college for five hours. "Who will ensure our safety? ABVP goons are still roaming around, doing witch-hunting," one student told the police.
"We will not allow any goondagardi (hooliganism)," assured Special CP Singh, even as the students laughed bitterly in response.
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