Published: 31st December 2019
Brutally beaten by Delhi police inside Jamia Masjid, this student stays back to help clean up after every protest
The police swung their lathi on this 25-year-year-old for almost 15 times, while he was inside the Masjid, offering Namaz
It's been 15 days since the Delhi Police lathi-charged and fired tear gas shells at the students of Jamia Millia Islamia. On that particular night, Arif* was struck with the lathi for more than 20 times — this caused a shoulder dislocation. He still complains of an intolerable pain on his shoulder. Amidst that, every evening, he goes to the protest sites on campus without fail and helps to clean up.
Arif tells us that he had gone to the Masjid offer Namaz on the evening of December 15. Right before that, he had attended the anti-NRC-CAA protest on campus. "The police had burst a tear gas shell while I was on my way to the Masjid. After offering Namaz, I'd put salt around my eyes to relieve the irritation caused by the tear gas and thought that I'd go out through Gate 8. But by then, the police and the protestors had surrounded the gate," he says.
A UPSC aspirant, this former SFI activist decided to stay in the Masjid to be safe. "But by then, the police entered the Masjid. Someone switched off the lights as well. A few of us crouched next to a concrete wall inside the Masjid," Arif recalls. "That was when a lathi hit me. There were around seven policemen inside the room. Usually, to disperse crowd, they swish the lathi 3-4 times. But that wasn't the case here. They charged us 14-15 times at the least. People were hit all over their bodies, even on their heads. I shielded the lathi with my hand and ended up injuring it," he says.
However, even after the incident, Arif decided to stay back on campus, unlike many others. "Jamia protests didn't end on December 15. They are still going on. Students were on a hunger strike two days back. There was a drama yesterday," he says. "I attend most of these. I also stay back to clean up later," he adds. He also says that the protests are better organised these days. "Initially, the protests weren't coordinated well. There was also an attempt to raise communal slogans. That isn't the same now. The newly formed Jamia Coordination Committee is holding the protests now," he says.