The Delhi Police on Monday rejected charges of reaching the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus late despite several pleas by the students' union, asserting that they responded to PCR calls and law-and-order situation professionally to bring things under control.
Under attack for not acting swiftly to prevent the violence on Sunday, the police also dismissed the charge that they were mute spectators despite a small number of police personnel being present on the campus.
Talking to the media, Delhi Police spokesperson Mandeep Singh Randhawa said the force was deployed in the administrative block of the Jawaharlal Nehru University and the scuffle took place in an area far from the spot.
Randhawa said the internal security of the JNU lay with the varsity administration.
"We have responded to PCR calls, and law-and-order situation professionally," he said.
According to the spokesperson, calls received by the police around 5 pm were from hostel areas away from the administrative block and it alerted them about a scuffle.
"We immediately responded to the calls and brought the situation under control. Normally, the police deployment is only at the administrative block of the varsity. The area where the scuffle took place was far from there," the officer said.
The high court had earlier directed the Delhi Police for deploying the personnel in plain clothes to ensure that protests do not happen within the 100 metres of the administrative block.
Around 7.45 pm, the officer said, the police received a request from the JNU administration, following which they went inside the university, conducted a flag march and brought the situation under control.
Earlier, JNU Students' Union president Aishe Ghosh said she had contacted the Vasant Kunj North police station incharge and also senior officers stating that a mob was assembling in the university.
JNUSU vice president Saket Moon alleged that the police turned up after two hours, much after the mob left the campus.
"The police deployment is only at the administrative block of the varsity. The area where the scuffle took place was far from there," Randhawa said.
A fact-finding committee has also been formed in connection with the incident which is being headed by Joint Commissioner of Police (Western Range) Shalini Singh, he said.
The police's Crime Branch is already probing the case and it has found some vital clues.
On Monday, the investigation team visited the Sabarmati hostel and tried to understand the sequence of events.
Police sources said that some of the people involved in the violence were from outside, but most of them were from the inside the university. However, the police is probing.
According to police sources, there were a series of clashes on Sunday. The first clash started at 11 am, then another clash took place at 2.30 pm, followed by a third one between 3-3.30 pm.
The fourth one was more violent when some masked persons barged inside the Periyar hostel at 4.30 pm, sources said, adding the police would investigate the reason behind these clashes and the people who were involved in them.
According to the sources, there was stone pelting around 6.30 pm, followed by masked people entering the Sabarmati hostel with sticks and rods and vandalising it.
A first information report (FIR) has been registered against unidentified people in connection with the violence and the crime branch is probing it.
The FIR has been registered against unidentified persons for rioting and damaging property, officials said.
According to the FIR, students were protesting against a hostel fee hike for the last few days. According to instructions issued by the high court, no protest is allowed within a 100-metre radius of the administrative block of the university.
'On Sunday at 3.45 pm, a police team headed by an inspector, which was deployed in the administrative block, got information that a few students had gathered at the Periyar hostel and a fight had broken out between them. They also vandalised the hostel building,' the FIR stated.
The inspector, along with other policemen, reached the Periyar hostel and saw 40 to 50 people, some with their faces covered with masks, carrying sticks in their hands and beating up students and vandalising the hostel, it added.
'Later, police entered the campus after the JNU administration requested them to control the violence inside the university. More police personnel were called and a request was made to students to maintain peace. Police received more PCR calls of violence,' the FIR said.
'At around 7 pm, information was received that some people had entered the Sabarmati hostel and were beating up students.
'They also vandalised the hostel. There were around 50 to 60 people carrying sticks in their hands.
'They were asked to stop the act and leave the premises, but they kept vandalising the building and beating up students. Thereafter, they ran away and the injured students were rushed to hospitals,' it added.
A case was registered under sections 145 (joining or continuing in unlawful assembly, knowing it has been commanded to disperse), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 151 (knowingly joining or continuing in assembly of five or more persons after it has been commanded to disperse) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, the FIR said.
"All the CCTV footage of the incident are being collected and an investigation has been initiated into it. Crime Branch has constituted a separate team to probe the case," Randhawa said.
"Crime Branch is carrying a detailed investigation into all the CCTV footage of the incident and those that were also uploaded on social media and circulated on WhatsApp. In total 34 people including female were injured in the incident," he said.
The police said three FIRs were registered on the complaint of JNU administration against the some of the students for allegedly destroying servers near the Centre of Biotechnology and for inciting violence.
This was done during a dispute over the online registration.
"We received the complaints on January 3 and 4. The scuffle had been going on between two group since last week," an official said.
Edited by Utkarsh Mishra