According to reports, the police party had gone to the village to arrest a man named Afzal who was accused of cow slaughter and had returned home after the lockdown was relaxed.
Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India
NEW DELHI—Wreckage of broken wares – wash basin, washing machine, fans, TV sets, cooler, fridge, water bottles, furniture, mirror cabinet – lie scattered all over. The courtyard is filled with shards of glass from the windshields of damaged cars. Broken motorcycles and cots lay upside down. A gate has been pulled from its hinge.
This is the scene of over a dozen video clips shared by Muslim residents of Taprana village under the Jhinjhana police limits near Shamli town of Muzzafarnagar district in western Uttar Pradesh. The villagers allege that it is the trail of brutality left behind by a police raid.
According to the villages, two days ago, around 3 am, a heavy contingent of police descended on the Muslim locality, vandalised houses and indiscriminately thrashed the occupants. The police party arrested nearly three dozen people in the lightening raid.
In one disturbing video clip, a middle-aged bearded man, wearing white tunic-pajama and a skull cap, shows his bruised buttocks. The colour of his skin has turned reddish blue ostensibly from cane blows he received.
The residents claim that the police did not even spare women. They accused the cops of misbehaving with the women. Recounting the horror, a woman victim of the police brutality, said that they abused and asked them to stand aside while they went on smashing household items. “I was alone as my husband was not home at the time. This did not deter them from banging and damaging our house,” she said.
A woman shows her wounded ankle covered in a cloth to stop the bleeding while another shows she was hit in back, face and hand.
“When we tried to stop them from damaging our gate, they beat us up,” recalled a woman gasping for breath in exhaustion.
The villagers informed that no woman cop had accompanied the police team during the raid.
“Around a dozen policemen barged into our house breaking open the doors. They smashed whatever came their way. They took away one of my brothers,” said yet another woman.
Mohammad Rafi, a resident of the village whose house was also raided, claimed in an interview to a local news outlet that the police detained her sister during the raid. He said since they were not accompanied by any female cops, she was detained by male cops. She has been released later.
Some victims whose homes were ransacked in the raid accused the police of loot and plunder. At least three people claimed that the police stole the money they had saved in cash at their homes. One villager alleged that the police stole cash worth over Rs 1 lakh from their locker. A woman alleged that they stole Rs 5,000 from her house. She said the police hit her with sticks.
At another house, a man sporting a skull cap, allegedly that the police wallas stole the cash and jewelry the family had saved for their sister’s marriage while leaving behind a trail of damaged wares.
Even as the police stands accused of vandalism and burglary, rights activists based in Shamli said that the police booked scores of villagers on charge of attacking the cops.
According to reports, the police party had gone to the village to arrest a man named Afzal who was accused of cow slaughter and had returned home after the lockdown was relaxed. During the raid, the cops confronted the locals. Reports, citing police version, said that three cops were injured in during the encounter with the villagers.
The police registered a case and detained over two dozen residents.
But a Shamli based lawyer Akram Chaudhary said that the accused was not wanted, but the police still went to arrest him. The villagers confronted the police and tried to stop the detention of Afzal. The village pradhan (elder) Anwar told the police to make a retreat and promised them that he will handover Afzal to them at the police station. According to Javed, resident of neighboring village, that the pradhan kept his promise and took Afzal to the station. But, he said, Police had already made its plan and in the night they descended on to the village with around 15 vehicles including Armed Personnel Carriers even before Afzal and pradhan would reach the station.
When Clarion India approached Jhinjhana police station for comment, a police official said over phone that they were not aware of the incident.
The police highhandedness has triggered anger among the villagers. Ayaz Khan, a resident of the village, told a local media outlet that the vandalism happened under the watch of Superintendent of Police (SP) Shamli. He said the villagers wants the administration to take immediate action against the erring police officials.