They were detained after a Hindu woman eloped with a Muslim man
Ashraf Hussain | Clarion India
Jamshedpur — Two Muslim youths have accused the police of custodial torture including physical assault and sexual violence in the industrial town of Jamshedpur in Jharkhand. This has sparked demonstrations and outrage even as police have launched an investigation into the complaint.
On August 24, Kadma police station in Jamshedpur summoned Arzoo, a 28-year-old electrician, for questioning following reports that a Hindu woman from Shastri Nagar eloped with a Muslim man of Jamshedpur. They accused him of his involvement in helping the elopement. Arzoo denied the allegation upon questioning but police allegedly beat him up in the lock up. “They beat me up severely and then gave me medicine,” he told Clarion India.
Next morning, police summoned Mohammad Aslam and sought his son Aurangzeb, 30, for questioning. The latter, fearing torture, did not turn up. He was persuaded by his uncle to surrender on August 26.
“They asked me about the couple but I had no idea. The police men then started beating me up,” Aurangzeb recounted, adding that he told the police he knew the absconding boy because they both work in the fabrication business. The police allegedly started hurling slurs. “This is India. We are Hindus. You will elope with a Hindu girl? You want to make it Taliban. We will send you to Afghanistan,” Aurangzeb recalled police warning him.
He alleged that his interrogators slapped him in his face repeatedly with slippers. “I cannot tell you the abusive words they used against my mother and sister, he said.
Aurangzeb alleged that his interrogators asked him to have sex with Arzoo. “He asked Arzoo to lay down and asked me to pull down his pants and have sex with him like that eloped couple would be doing,” Aurangzeb said, recalling that he started crying and refused to follow the diktat. “I pleaded before him to not force me to commit this sin.” Then a policeman started hitting Aurangzeb with a cricket stump.”
The police asked them if they had taken the coronavirus vaccine. On getting a reply of “No” from Arzoo the policeman once again started hurling slurs: “Has Allah forbade taking the vaccine? Will Allah Mian feel bad?”.
Aurangzeb accused police of making objectionable remarks against his religion. “He continued beating me with a stump and slipper.”
The torture lasted for six hours — up to around 10 PM, Aurangzeb said, after which he was given “some medicine”. Aurangzeb alleged he was made to sign a document in front of his guardian claiming that he was released safely and that he was not subjected to ill-treatment in custody.
“I cannot sleep at night. I am terrified and feel pained remembering what they did to me,” he said, adding, “I want justice.”
The torture story of the duo sparked outrage among the local activists as one group submitted a memorandum before the Superintendent of Police on August 27 demanding a thorough investigation into the torture claims. They demanded that the culprits should be punished.
On Tuesday, August 31, when Clarion India asked the Deputy Superintendent of Police Kamal Kishore on the progress of the investigation, he said, “It is underway and we will soon have a report as the investigation is in the last stage.”
On Wednesday, angry residents of the locality where Arzoo and Aurangzeb live held a protest demonstration raising slogans against police carrying banners demanding justice for the duo.
Aurangzeb’s uncle Aftab Khan who is a local leader of Jharkhand Ekta Morcha demanded a CBI probe into the matter warning that they would launch agitation if justice was not delivered on time. “We are thinking of going to meet the Chief Minister to seek justice.”