[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Allahabad High Court today requested the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate into the alleged police violence in Aligarh Muslim University on December 15 during the Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests.
The High Court has also asked the NHRC to convey its findings and recommendations to the court immediately after the conclusion of the inquiry/investigation preferable within one month.
A division bench comprising the Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Vivek Varma has also directed the petitioner or his representative as well as representative of the State of Uttar Pradesh to appear before the Registrar, NHRC, on January 10, 2020, to have the schedule of the proceedings that are to be settled by the NHRC.
“The facts of the instant case indicate an alleged violation of human rights and also alleged negligence in the prevention of such violation. We have not looked into the video footage, which is said to be available with the petitioner and compact disks, which are placed on record by the respondents along with the counter. However, the photographs annexed with the petition reflect certain serious happenings which are termed by the petitioner as brutal, violation of human rights that also amounts to commission of a cognizable crime. The narration of facts certainly demands a probe”, said the High Court.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who had appeared for the petitioner Mohd Aman Khan, asserted the demand to have a complete investigation of the incident by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) consisting of independent police officials.
Senior Advocate Gonsalves also referred to the judgement of the Supreme Court in Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families Association and another Vs. Union of India and others, where the apex court observed that the inquiry or investigation by the National Human Rights Commission is of civil nature and that too is not an effective measure to bring the culprits of doing wrong to the board, and further asserted the demand for an SIT.
According to AMU, the police entered the University campus being called by the University authorities looking to circumstances then prevailing. The hostels were also ordered to be vacated as the winter vacations were preponed. According to the University, the demonstration on 14 & 15 December 2019 was having the presence of several persons who are not students of the University. Out of the 26 persons detained, at least 15, as per the University are not its students.
Additional Advocate General for Uttar Pradesh submitted before the court that the action was taken to prevent loss to public and public property at large. He also asserted that the right available under Article 19 of the Constitution of India is only to assemble peacefully and without arms.
“In the incident under consideration, the assembly was absolutely unlawful and was abating for violence at large. As such, whatever steps and actions taken by the state or its Officers’s is justifiable”, said Additional Advocate General Goyal.
On December 19, the court had directed the District Magistrate (DM) to ensure all necessary medical assistance and aid, if any required to the students and persons said to be injured as a consequence to the lathi charge or by any other means during the incidence of December 14 & 15 and also subsequent thereto, if any taken place in the campus of AMU.
In the late evening of December 15, the police and security forces in order to quell the students’ protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 had entered the campus of AMU and allegedly lobbed tear gas shells. As a result of the lathi-charge and firing, many students were injured and admitted to hospitals.
Amid protests and violence against the students, the Vice-Chancellor of AMU had ordered the closure of the university and asked the students to vacate the hostels prior to the scheduled break.
The High Court has listed the petition for further consideration on February 17, 2020
Read the Order here:
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