In a disturbing turn of events at Allahabad University, protests against a staggering 300% increase in undergraduate course fees have taken a violent turn. The situation escalated on October 17, 2023, when a peaceful demonstration at the Student Union Building turned chaotic, culminating in an alleged assault by the Chief Proctor, Mr. Rakesh Singh, on a protesting student. The incident unfolded around 11:30 am when police personnel, accompanied by Chief Proctor Singh, confronted students gathered at the library gate. In response to slogans against the university administration, Chief Proctor Singh immediately resorted to violence, using a policeman's baton to beat a student. Shockingly, the police officials present did not intervene to stop the assault, as captured in a viral video shared on social media [REF: https://x.com/ManojSinghKAKA/status/1714199592408166663?s=20].
Instead of addressing the assault of Mr. Rakesh Singh, the police forcibly removed the students from the scene and transported them to Karnal Ganj police station, Allahabad. Undeterred, a group of 50-60 students rallied at the police station, demanding action against Chief Proctor Singh and the release of their detained peers. Mr. Vivek, a student, submitted a formal application to the Station House In charge, Karnal Ganj Police Station, outlining the incident and seeking justice. However, the police officials claimed pressure from higher authorities and refused to register an FIR against the assault.
Despite assurances from the Superintendent of Police, Allahabad, on October 18, 2023, no tangible action has been taken against Chief Proctor Singh, and no FIR has been filed by the police. In a concerning further development, four more students have reportedly been suspended by the Chief Proctor in the aftermath of the protests. The university campus remains tense as students persist in their demand for justice, the rollback of the fee hike, and the reinstatement of their suspended peers.
We, HRDA India believe that the assault by Chief Proctor on peacefully protesting students in front of the police officials is an arbitrary, illegal, and serious violation of constitutionally guaranteed right to life and peaceful assembly. Furthermore, registering an FIR regarding complaint of assault is the duty of the police under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is an essential right in a democracy and Unprovoked lathi-charge on unarmed protestors is a violation of the Articles 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. We also believe that the lathi-charge on unarmed protesters, is a violation of international human rights laws. A peaceful assembly is protected under the Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Therefore, we are demanding following action from NHRC-
To direct the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Allahabad to initiate and urgent, unbiased and transparent inquiry on the willful negligence and inaction by police personnel of Karnal Ganj police station for not registering an FIR against the Chief Proctor Mr. Rakesh Singh and on the basis of enquiry the strict action should be taken on police personals for not registering FIR as per law and submit a detailed report to the honorable Commission within two weeks.