“Who burnt the buses?” has been the epicentre of conversations ever since the violence broke out in Jamia Millia Islamia University, Aligarh Muslim University and the subsequent nation-wide anti CAA protests. People have time and again tried to justify police actions as mere retaliation towards the violence incited by the protesters. But the subsequent events in Uttar Pradesh have something else to say. UP police particularly have been reported to have defied law leading to the rise of the death toll to 23. Over 5,500 have been detained and 1,100 arrested.
With such large numbers, can the protesters really be called the sole perpetrators of violence?
One particular series of incidents from Muzaffarnagar, UP recently came to the forefront which are nothing short of horrific. On December 20, 2019, the police allegedly probed inside Sadaat Madarsa in search of armed vandals who fled from the site of protest organized after namaz. The madarsa is a school-cum-orphanage managed by Maulana Asad – a renowned Shia Muslim Cleric. The Saadat hostel hosts 100 children of ages 8-18. Neither him nor his students were a part of the demonstrations.
When the police entered, Maulana was resting in his room after the prayers. The police started hurling abuses at everyone that came in their way and also started vandalising the school. When Maulana intervened, they started thrashing him. The police started beating him and over 100 of his students, all of whom were detained and harassed in police custody. Maulana Asad was kept in a dark room for over 24 hours and wasn’t even presented before the District Magistrate. In biting cold weather, he was brutally beaten on his naked waist with sticks. He also suffered from severe injuries on both his arms and legs.
Maulana Asad was kept in a dark room for over 24 hours and wasn’t even presented before the District Magistrate. In biting cold weather, he was brutally beaten on his naked waist with sticks. He also suffered from severe injuries on both his arms and legs.
He was finally freed on December 21 after the pressure from powerful people. Maulana is a very renowned person in Uttar Pradesh and in fact also received an award from vice president Venkaiah Naidu for his selfless service. Yet he got assaulted solely because he came from a certain religion. What is it if not the government specifically targeting Muslims, without any offence at all?
After staying in custody for over 3 days, 90 of his students were released while 10 of them are still behind bars. They were also subjected to a lot of sexual violence and some went through rectal bleeding. The young children who weren’t beaten up were made to sit on a chair and watch, while police thrashed the rest. This really traumatised them. The students were also forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Har Har Mahadev.”
This incident happened on a Friday when Maulana along with a lot of his students were fasting. So in detention, when they asked the police personnel for water, they were told that they would be given ‘Amit Shah’s urine’ instead, reported Iqbal Haider, a follower of Maulana who was detained along with everyone else. The children were released on December 23 but they were shivering and were traumatised from the violence that they went through.
They were also subjected to a lot of sexual violence and some went through rectal bleeding. The young children who weren’t beaten up were made to sit on a chair and watch, while police thrashed the rest. This really traumatised them. The students were also forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Har Har Mahadev.”
The community came to a consensus about not filing a complaint against the police because they were too terrified to report. They said, “When the police and the government have become oppressors, who do we go to?” This goes on to show how the Modi-Shah regime has managed to start a reign of terror in the hearts of Muslims.
Rape For ‘Retribution’
Thinking about the Kathua rape case still sends chills down our spine and reminds us as how rape and sexual violence have been used for the purpose of revenge in times of communal disputes. This act of (possibly) Hindu police officers assaulting minor Muslim children really resonates with the Kathua rape case, wherein the girl was raped solely for the purpose of vengeance and reclamation of power.
Somehow, our pop culture and mainstream media has always glorified the role of police and movies like Singham are used to portray the ideal police officer. But after the recent incidents, how far are our forces standing by their image portrayed everywhere? Why did police resort to this against innocent orphans kids who did nothing but belong to a certain religion?
Thrashing and allegedly raping minors is unacceptable not just constitutionally, but also to a humanitarian extent. Uttar Pradesh police needs to be held accountable for their actions and everyone has to come forward and question those in positions of power.
Featured Image Source: The Federal