There is fear, but I will not lose hope: Jamia student who lost an eye during an attack by Delhi Police

20 December 2019
Shahid Tantray for The Caravan
Shahid Tantray for The Caravan

On 15 December, students of Jamia Millia Islamia held protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act for the third consecutive day. The Delhi Police forced their way into campus and brutally attacked the students, using lathis and tear gas. The police, eyewitnesses told The Caravan, entered the library, the canteen and the mosque, and even attacked students who were not involved in the protests.

Mohammed Minhajuddin, an alumnus of the Aligarh Muslim University and a second-year LLM student at Jamia, was in the library when the police entered. Though he was not involved in the protests, Minhajuddin said, the police still beat him severely. The lathi charge damaged his left eye, costing him his eyesight, and left his right eye vulnerable to infection. In videos of the attack that circulated on social media, Minhajuddin could be seen sitting on the floor of a bathroom in Jamia, clutching his bleeding eye. He has not yet received a copy of the medico-legal report regarding his injuries. On 18 December, Shahid Tantray and Ahan Penkar, the assistant photo editor and a fact checker at The Caravan, respectively, met Minhajuddin . He recounted, in detail, how the police beat him up, and permanently damaged his eye. “There is fear for sure, and difficulty,” he said. “But I will do my best to be brave … I will not lag behind in my work.”

At around 12 or 1 pm on 15 December, I reached the central library. There is a separate section for master of philosophy students; I was sitting there. My friends and I were working. I had nothing to do with the protests that were happening outside. I’m not affiliated with any organisation or students’ association. I do not have any political affiliation, nor does anyone in my family has any political association. I was just doing my work.

This incident began at around 7 pm. Around twenty or twenty-five policemen broke into the central library building. They broke the glass of the main door and came in. When we realised that the police had entered the building, some students bolted the MPhil section’s door. But the police broke the lock and entered. The whole room was panicked. Students began running here and there.

Shahid Tantray is a multimedia reporter at The Caravan. He tweets at @shahidtantray.

Ahan Penkar is a fact-checking fellow at The Caravan.

Keywords: Citizenship (Amendment) Act police