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Published On:22 June 2020
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Six months since Jamia violence, police brutalities not forgotten

As we witness worldwide #BlackLivesMatter protests and criticisms of police brutality in the USA, we also need to take a look at our own police system and how it perpetrates violence.

By Ishmeet Nagpal

Any structure that exists with a clear mandate of placing absolute power in the hands of a few, will inevitably undermine the spirit of democracy at some juncture. From beating up of helpless migrant workers simply trying to go home, assaulting doctors and essential workers, to beating children, the police have shown us time and again they are not our friends (unless we are Members of Parliament whose children get birthday cakes from them).

In December 2019, while analyzing the Jamia violence perpetrated by Delhi Police, I had asked the following question in a Hindi article: “जामिया के छात्रों से क्रूरता क्यों?” (“Who is the target of the Police’s Lathi? This is something we should think about”). Therapist and researcher- Sadaf Vidha answers, “The brutality of the police is meted out towards those most oppressed in the society. In this, it follows the same pattern of discrimination that the larger society follows. In India, we see disproportionate police brutality towards the poor, the migrants, the caste minorities, women, and the tribal population. In a bizarre incident, a lawyer in Madhya Pradesh was beaten brutally and told later, with an apology, ‘We thought you had a beard, so you were a Muslim’. When they have to make split-second decisions in the absence of proper training, with violence as the only method available, the decision is made on the bases of these implicit biases that they learned growing up and were later reinforced at various stages in their lives.” (extracts from researcher’s essay on thechakkar.com)

The indiscriminate and unjustified violence meted out by the police in Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University students, as well as the violent measures taken to curb Anti-CAA protests may have fallen out of the news cycle, but they will never be forgotten.

Any citizen of India should be very concerned if, in the end, the police are not held accountable for their actions. An extremely biased report is already doing the job of whitewashing over the facts of Delhi Pogrom 2020. Similar gaslighting can be expected in the cases of police brutality. Whether they enter our places of education to perpetrate violence or overturn vegetable carts on the street, the police’s abuse of power with impunity needs to be questioned.

The Delhi Police, in particular, has also been perpetrating another form of structural violence by making a series of arrests targeting students, activists, and peaceful protestors including Safoora Zargar who has been denied bail yet again. The Judiciary is supposed to step up and protect the interests of the citizens. Instead, the Delhi High Court has repeatedly adjourned petitions seeking police accountability for indiscriminate arrests.

The Bengaluru police targeting veteran journalist Aakar Patel for posting about a peaceful #BlackLivesMatter protest is the latest in a long string of nationwide crackdowns on journalists and their freedom of speech. If we look at the big picture, the very people we rely on to keep us safe, are the source of fear. The Judiciary and the Government are complicit even in being passive. From the protests that helped us achieve our freedom from the hands of the British, to the online protests that we participate in now from our smartphones during the lockdown, it is our right, as citizens, to voice our criticisms of the law and order system in our country. Our ancestors put this free, independent nation in our hands, and we must nurture this freedom, we must build on it, we must never give it up in any manner. Jai Hind!

(Courtesy: Sabrang

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on June 22, 2020. Filed under , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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