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Same day, same room: An eye lost

The footage shows uniformed personnel mercilessly raining lathi-blows on youngsters in the room

By Pheroze L. Vincent in New Delhi
  • Published 17.02.20, 2:29 AM
  • Updated 17.02.20, 2:29 AM
  • 2 mins read
Minhajuddin at AIIMS on December 15 night Sourced by The Telegraph

Postgraduate law student Mohammad Minhajuddin was at the reading room in Jamia Millia Islamia’s Ibn-e-Sina block on December 15, 2019, around 6pm.

Minhajuddin has lost vision in his left eye.

The reading room resembles that seen in a video clip released by the Jamia Coordination Committee, which groups students and alumni, on Saturday. The footage also shows uniformed personnel mercilessly raining lathi-blows on youngsters in the room.

On Sunday, Minhajuddin told The Telegraph that he was hit by a fibreglass lathi while leaving the room. “More than 20 personnel entered in riot gear and began to hit us with lathis without warning and without asking any questions. We tried to move away but the police had blocked the exit…. At the door, a policeman in green camouflage (CRPF uniform) hit me with a fibreglass stick on my eye. I felt dizzy but I couldn’t leave as the police had blocked all exits.”

He added: “I managed to reach the ground-floor bathroom where I hid. I was bleeding from my eye and I tried to stop the bleeding with a handkerchief. After around half an hour, a student named Maqsood reached there and carried me to the Allama Iqbal Hostel…. An ambulance brought me to Al Shifa Hospital from where I was referred to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, where I reached around 9pm, as specialists were not available there then.”

Minhajuddin at a Jamia Millia Islamia washroom on December 15
Minhajuddin at a Jamia Millia Islamia washroom on December 15 Sourced by The Telegraph

After tests and filling forms at the AIIMS Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre, he was admitted to the institute’s Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences at 1am.

“Doctors say that there is very little chance to restore vision in my left eye, and they have suggested that I explore options abroad. They were able to save my right eye, for which I am still receiving treatment to prevent infection.”

He said his plans of practising law in Delhi had been shattered. “Reading, or even talking for a while, gives me a headache.… My father is a teacher in Samastipur and we cannot afford treatment, although several charitable organisations have offered financial assistance. The local MLA (the Aam Aadmi Party’s Amanatullah Khan) gave me a compensation cheque for Rs 5 lakh.”

Minhajuddin, one of whose fingers was also fractured, said: “I have moved Delhi High Court for compensation. The hearing has been scheduled for April 30. I have given a statement to the police and written to the police commissioner and the lieutenant governor for criminal proceedings against the personnel who did this to me. No action has been taken yet, and hence I have obtained CCTV footage from the university to petition a magistrate for action.”

The Telegraph had earlier published a picture and testimony of Mohammed Mustafa, a student doing his master’s in social exclusion and an aspiring civil servant, whose metacarpals — the bones running from the wrist to the base of the fingers — on each hand were fractured.

Mustafa had said: “I raised both my hands and they fractured (the fingers on both hands). They broke my laptop. They chased me down the stairs and hit me and I fainted…. When I came to, they hit me again. They chased and hit us all the way to Gate 7. They said, ‘Read the Kalma (a religious text)’. It was a direct or indirect reference that you are going to die. They asked, ‘What is your problem with (Narendra) Modi and Amit Shah?’”

Minhajuddin and Mustafa said they had never participated in protests.

He said: “The university should just release all the footage they have. There is nothing to hide. I will be seen sitting in the library since the afternoon. The only violence you will see in the footage is that of the police attacking people.”