Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – Residents of Deoband in Uttar Pradesh have accused local Police of harassment. They say cops ran amok in Muslim neighbourhoods and barged into the homes in the dead of night on Thursday.
Videos that have been widely shared on social media reveal contingents of men in uniform in riot gear chasing and beating young men in narrow lanes. The narrator in one video alleges that police picked up people from their homes and took them away.
After the police action, a group of women came out of their homes in protest against the highhandedness of the personnel. They were seen recounting their ordeal at the hands of the police. They said that police personnel broke into their homes, nabbed boys and thrashed women.
In this video, women allege that UP Police barged into their houses and used brutal force.
— Md Asif Khan آصِف (@imMAK02) May 8, 2020
The incident came at a time when a resurgent wave of Islamophobia has gripped India. Everyday reports of hate crimes against Muslims come to the fore. State institutions, including police, have been accused of bias when it comes to dealing with Muslims. It is the result of a vilification campaign systematically carried out by a large section of mainstream and social media against the community.
Imran Masood, one of the prominent leaders of the Congress in western Uttar Pradesh, took to Facebook to condemn the police action in Deoband. He said the police excesses have increased during lockdown in the area. He alleged that some elements in the police force have become “mentally unwell”. “These actions of the police are Unacceptable,” he asserted.
Masood claimed that after the Deoband incident, he raised the issue with captain and asked whether the police were fighting the pandemic or people of a community – a veiled reference about Muslims. “The oppression of this kind is unbearable.”
The former lawmaker sounded aghast as he demanded an investigation into the incident and not just assurance of the top police officials that they have calmed the situation. “Harassing women like this inside their homes is totally unacceptable,” he proclaimed.