Mohd Aasif | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — A new graffiti is peeping from the walls of the Jamia Millia Islamia, and it asks a serious question, “Who do we call, when the police attack us?” A case of fence eating the crop – and in the harshest manner.
Police brutality is becoming the new normal in the national capital. On 10th February, a day before the budget session of Parliament ended its first phase, anti-CAA protesters from Gate 7 of Jamia Millia Islamia took out a peaceful march to Parliament. They were to hand over a copy of the Indian Constitution to MPs and request them to make laws as per its dictates.
Rafiya Fatima, a local woman among the protesters wearing burqa who had got on to the police barricade with the aim to save the male protesters from the wrath of cops, had the shock of her life when she was hung upside down by the woman cops. Later, she was pushed to the other side of the barricade. It was done at the call of a security official.
A policeman kicked on her private parts some five to six times. She suffered internal injuries in the chest and her third rib was broken. She spent a night in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Al-Shifa Hospital to repair the damage to her body and regain her composure. With a trembling voice because of the pain in her neck, chest and abdomen, she says she could “recognize and identify” the security personnel.
TARGETING THE CLOTH
Safoora Zargar, a victim of police brutality and member of the Jamia Coordination Committee, believes that Muslim women in burqa were specifically targeted. “The hijab and burqa were torn by the cops purposely,” she said, adding, “It is not just a piece of cloth for us, it’s the symbol of our dignity.”
Attacks inspired by communal bias takes the brutality to a higher level. The protesters say that some cops said Muslim women were a ‘threat’ to the Constitution and referred to them as “Jinnah ke Pille” (puppies of Jinnah). “Tum samvidhan ke naam par dhabba ho (you are a stain on the Constitution)”, a cop told Mohd. Zubair. “Dadhi rakhkar hindustan ki baat karta hai (How can you talk for Hindustan and keep a beard?),” another cop rebuked Qasim.
Inflicting mental torture and humiliation was a police tactic to break down the morale of the protesters.Chanda Yadav, one of the feisty girls among a group of five, was slapped by a cop because she was protesting. “Protest karti hai?,” (you dare to protest) asked a cop,” she said.
POKING LATHIS IN ABDOMEN
Emergency consultant and In-charge of Al-Shifa hospital, Doctor Modassir Azim, confirmed that patients had finger impressions on their necks. They were poked by lathis in the abdomen. “Usual black and blue marks of the lathis were not there, but patients had internal injuries in their chest, abdomen, back, feet and neck.”
A number of protesters fainted during the protest. “Breathing issues, dehydration, chest pain, anxiety, nausea and vomiting happened,” added Dr. Azim. Altogether, around 60 students were admitted to the Ansari Health Center; and out of them, 36 were referred to the Al-Shifa and four among them were admitted to the ICU with serious complications in their health conditions.
Security forces are duty-bound to remain apolitical and unbiased. The hurling of political and communal abuses by security personnel is proof they violated their work ethics. Such acts are also evidence of the biased styles of sections of the police force.
Protesters were beaten during their detention, forced to sit on the floor of the buses in which they were taken to police stations or hospitals. This was done also to ensure that the general public will not see them in these vehicles; and they were repeatedly taunted with communal comments. Abu Darda, student and activist in Jamia detained by the police, was beaten and taunted while in detention. “Chalo tumhe azadi dete hain” (Come on, let’s give you the freedom you want) cops laughed aloud and said.
YE AZADI WALE HAIN
Detainees were taken to the Badarpur police station. The treatment there was inhuman. They were taunted with harsh words, “Arey, yeh azadi wale hain (Oh! these are the azadi people)” and then they were made to sit on the floor. Chanda was threatened to be thrown out of the police station as she said she wanted to talk to her lawyer. A cop called the limping condition of Mohd Tehzeen as a ‘drama’ and forced him to walk.
The security forces made sure that photographers will not be able to click scenes of their physical assaults on the protesters. All the lensmen were ordered to climb down from the wall of the adjacent school, to avoid visibility. “The protesters were hit by boots, by knees and they were also poked by their canes in the lower parts of the body,” said Meeran Haider during his address of the media.
The victims are questioning the biased behaviour of the police administration.
Ms. Zargar rhetorically asked why political rallies are allowed passage through the routes where there are girls’ colleges. She referred to the incident of mass molestation. At the same time, cops will not allow a peaceful protest along such a route. On cops using protective overalls, she seeks an inquiry. “Why were they using such gears when facing peaceful student protests,” she asked.
According to a member of JCC, Muhibullah, the DCP Gyanesh Kumar threatened to rip him apart.