JNU protesters clash and cops:
Police brutality is a known narrative instilled in most of our minds, while any incident of a face-off with protesters often end up with cops isolated categorically on bureaucratic racism and they end up on the receiving end of the people’s judgement; lathi charge is an ebbing on any positive thought towards the cops without knowing the other side of the story. Similar incident of a lathi charge by Delhi police on the protesting JNU students bought sympathy to the protesters on social media by instant judgment. A viral video in the social media shows the protesters of Rohit Vemula suicide who were cane-charged drew flak on the action of Delhi police.
The protesting JNU students had gathered outside RSS office in Delhi demanding justice for Rohit, a Hyderabad University student whose suicide triggered protests by most Left-backed student unions across the nation. In a rebuttal to Aam Aadmi party’s video release of the police cane-charging the protesters, Delhi police released another video which shows the protesters hurling abuses at the Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi, provoking and challenging the cops to take action against them. Some of the protesters made an attempt towards attacking the RSS office and the police intervened here.
One of the officer in charge said that the JNU Students climbed two layers of barricades and later threw banners and posters at police personnel when they were stopped at the second line of barricades. As a consequence, police had to resort to light cane-charge to ensure order is in place.
One of the protesters commented, “JNU Students were brutally beaten by police and people in civil dress who must be RSS people. We were peacefully leading a protest march but extreme force was used on us. Even girls were not spared and beaten up by male cops”. It’s curious to know that the protesters resorted to violence and took to streets if they were so sure of the RSS’s involvement in it; rather than a case against them in the court of law. Also interesting to know is, the protesters outside RSS office trying to portray an image of “culprit” on an assumption that RSS is the responsible on Rohit’s suicide.
While the Police Act and CrPC mentions that the police can take all steps to ensure compliance of the orders, sections from the CrPC indicates that the police were in full accordance of their act on the protesters. Section 141 of Indian Penal Code states “An assembly of five or more persons is designated an “unlawful assembly”, if the common object of the persons composing that assembly is—
- To overawe by criminal force, or show of criminal force, the Central or any State Government or Parliament or the Legislature of any State, or any public servant in the exercise of the lawful power of such public servant; or
- To resist the execution of any law, or of any legal process; or
- To commit any mischief or criminal trespass, or other offence; or
- By means of criminal force, or show of criminal force, to any person to take or obtain possession of any property, or to deprive any person of the enjoyment of a right of way, or of the use of water or other incorporeal right of which he is in possession or enjoyment, or to enforce any right or supposed right; or
- By means of criminal force, or show of criminal force, to compel any person to do what he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do what he is legally entitled to do.
Above section defines the act of illegal assembly and the protesters are guilty on at least 2 points, forcing the police to ensure order was maintained. While it’s unfortunate that the violence happened, it’s also inquisitive to know whether the motive of the protesters was to play victim by provoking the cops and gain brownie points on the already politicized topic of Rohith’s death. Were the JNU Students trying to play victim by instigating the police due to their political apathy on the central government? Did the protesters have a backing from a larger syndicate to sustain and intensify the protests in the wake of the upcoming budget session? Have the protesters tried to dent an image by channelizing people’s sympathy towards alleging the RSS?
Often, listening to one side of the story or even the complete story, we mostly end up supporting the weaker lot and pass instant social media judgment and police end up on the wrong side of people’s judgment. It’s important to understand that the people who ensure law and order is maintained have to resort to tougher means when the public try to disturb it as the prime agenda. A few rotten apples should not label the entire barrel as rotten; after all they are police.