By / The Wire

About a thousand days after the police violence in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) made headlines, the Allahabad high court has finally disposed of a writ petition seeking remedies against the police and paramilitary forces. The high court noted that nothing had survived in the petition, remarking that students should not “fall in the trap of unscrupulous persons operating outside the University to disturb peace there”.

This order comes after the Uttar Pradesh state government filed an affidavit stating that it had complied with the directions previously issued to it by the high court based on the report produced by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

However, this order does gross injustice to the students of AMU who had suffered extreme human rights violations at the hands of the UP police and paramilitary forces that were deployed at the repeated requests by the Registrar, Aligarh Muslim University to the District Magistrate in order to “prevent any untoward incident”. The brutality was such that the whole incident was termed by a fact-finding report as a ‘siege’ of the university.

Thereafter, a writ petition was filed by a lawyer Aman Khan before the Allahabad HC, praying for a set of remedies, which included the formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to conduct an inquiry into the human rights violations by the state agencies, the initiation of criminal proceedings against the police/paramilitary officials involved in the said incident, and award of compensation to those injured by the police violence. Over the course of hearings, although the high court declined to constitute an SIT, it did direct the NHRC to conduct an inquiry and furnish a report. Subsequently the NHRC came out with its findings. The NHRC report also made six recommendations, which have been summarised here:

  1. Directions to the UP government to provide compensation to the grievously injured students.
  2. Directions to the UP Police and Paramilitary forces to be ‘sensitised’ and that professionalism be inculcated in them. A direction was also given that ‘a suitable action’ may be taken against police officers who were involved in ‘stray incidents of damaging motorcycles and caning’.
  3. Directions to the UP Police to ensure that an SIT set up by the DGP should consider all relevant facts on merit.
  4. Directions to the UP Police to improve its intelligence gathering mechanisms, and directions to the Vice-Chancellor to improve its communication channels with students.

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