On February 15, CCTV videos showing students blocking the door of a reading room in Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) was aired by mainstream media and widely shared on social media. The students were apparently blocking the door to stop the police from entering the room. India Today correspondent Arvind Ojha claimed that a student (the person with shoulder-length hair) was carrying a stone in his hand. Throughout the show, the channel repeated that several people entered the room from ‘outside’ with stones in their hands.
— India Today (@IndiaToday) February 16, 2020
Vikrant Kumar, a founding member of online news portal Lopak, tweeted (archive link) juxtaposed images of the student in question and Shadab Farooq. Farooq is the Jamia student who was shot in his arm on January 30. Kumar speculated, “These two Guys look same no?” This was retweeted over 6,300 times.
The speculation was also raised by @pokershash, co-founder of Fact Hunt.
Left- The Jamia student caught with stone in CCTV footage
Right- The jamia student shot with air gun near Jamia.
— Shash (@pokershash) February 16, 2020
As per the time stamp on the CCTV footage uploaded by Kanak News, the student with shoulder-length hair was spotted in the reading room corridor at 18:05:30.
Farooq told Alt News that the student in CCTV video isn’t him. He also added that he was at Jashn-e-Reskhta, an annual Urdu literary fest held on December 15.
Authenticating Farooq’s location
According to the Jashn-e-Rekhta website, the event took place at Mayor Dhyan Chand National Stadium near India Gate.
While speaking with Alt News, JMI student Nawa Fatima also said that Farooq was at Jashn-e-Rekhta on December 15. “Approximately 10 of us went to the event. We started to leave the stadium around 6.30 pm. That’s when we were informed not to go to college because of the violence. The group was together until 7.30 pm at the Pragati Maidan metro station, then finally going their separate ways,” she said,
Fatima sent a group photo from the event via email. Farooq has been highlighted in red.
Alt News analysed the EXIF data of the above image and noted that it was clicked on December 15, 2019, at 4:42:15 PM.
Another JMI student (name concealed at request) shared a screencast of her phone gallery with multiple photographs from the event. This student had clicked the photograph shared by Fatima. The timestamp on the image on their phone is also December 15, 2019, 4:42:15 PM. Alt News is not uploading the screencast for the sake of privacy.
Who is the student in the CCTV video?
Multiple students (identities concealed at request) from JMI confirmed to Alt News that the person in the CCTV footage is Mohammad Ashraf Bhat, a PhD student at the university.
As per the time stamp on the CCTV footage, the police lathi-charge took place at around 6 pm. As informed by Fatima, Farooq was with her till 7:30 pm.