AMU Violence: Allahabad HC Directs UP Govt. to Take Action against Cops, Pay Compensation to Injured Students
ALIGARH, FEBRUARY 24— The Allahabad High Court on Monday directed the DGP of Uttar Pradesh to identify and take action against the policemen who were involved in “stray incidents of damaging motorcycles and unnecessarily caning the apprehended students” of the Aligarh Muslim University when they were protesting against Citizenship Amendment Act in December last year.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Samit Gopal passed the order on the basis of a recommendation made by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). In January, the HC had directed the rights body to probe into the allegations of police violence at AMU on December 15 and complete the investigation within 5 weeks. The HC had passed the order on a PIL filed by one Mohd. Aman Khan, reports LiveLaw.in.
The petitioner had had alleged that the students were protesting peacefully against the Citizenship Amendment Act since December 13. However, on December 15, the Para Military Force and the State Police, opened lathi charge and fired massive amount of teargas shells, rubber bullets and pellets on the students of AMU.
After conducting the probe, a six-member team of the NHRC presented their report to the HC with some recommendations that included action against guilty policemen and compensation to six injured students.
The NHRC also recommended that directions should be issued to the AMU Vice Chancellor, Registrar and other authorities “to establish a mechanism of better communication with the students' fraternity so that they are not influenced by outsiders and rusticated unruly students. They should take up all confidence building measures to rebuild the trust of students so that such incidents do not occur in future.”
Six Recommendations of NHRC on AMU Violence:
-- Direct the Chief Secretary Govt. of Uttar Pradesh to provide suitable compensation to the six students who have been grievously injured commensurate with their injuries, on humanitarian grounds.
-- Direct the DGP-Uttar Pradesh to identify the policemen (both district police and PAC), as seen in CCTV footages involved in stray incidents of damaging motorcycles and unnecessarily caning the apprehended students which has no bearing on the task of controlling law and order. A suitable action may also be taken against them as per rules and provisions that exist for subordinate officers in UP Police. The police force should be sensitized and special training modules be carried out to inculcate professionalism in handling such situations.
-- Similar directions as in point (b) above may also be given to the Director General, CRPF for RAF. RAF being a specialized force primarily set up to deal with riots and handle law and order situations, should show utmost professionalism in such crisis situations while at the same time, respecting the human rights of civilians also.
-- Direct DGP of UP, to ensure that the SIT set up vide his order dated 06/01/2020 investigates all the related cases on merits and in a time bound manner. The Hon'ble court may also like to set the time limit and periodic review, if any, for the completion of investigations on time.
-- The DGP UP and Senior Officers are also advised to improve and set up a robust intelligence gathering system. Special steps may be taken to counter rumour mongering and circulation of distorted and false news especially on the social media. This is to better control such law and order incidents which occur spontaneously and unexpectedly.
-- Direct the AMU-Vice Chancellor, Registrar and other authorities to establish a mechanism of better communication with the students' fraternity so that they are not influenced by outsiders and rusticated unruly students. They should take up all confidence building measures to rebuild the trust of students so that such incidents do not occur in future."
Within days of the December 15 police crackdown on the AMU campus, a civil fact-finding team of rights activist Harsh Mander and AMU Students Union had separately released their reports wherein they had charged the police for excessive use of force against the students.
The division bench of the HC ordered the following:
“The Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh, Director General of Police, Government of Uttar Pradesh, Director General, Central Reserve Police Force, Vice-Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University and the Registrar, Aligarh Muslim University are directed to adhere with the recommendations made by the Commission at earliest.”
The bench has also sought a report of compliance be presented before this Court on next date of listing – March 25, 2020.
The bench has also ordered that “the report of the Commission along with order of proceedings be kept in sealed cover in safe custody of the Registrar General of this Court and the same be placed before the Court on 25th March, 2020.”