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Gov’t became enemy of the people: Indian activist at US Congressional briefing

Dr Sandeep Pandey makes a powerful statement revealing excesses committed against anti-CAA protesters and dissenters in India, allegedly will full blessings of the regime.

Sabrangindia 30 Jan 2020

US Congressional briefing

On Wednesday, renowned human rights activist Dr Sandeep Pandey spoke at a Congressional Briefing in Washington D.C, where he recounted not only his own experience with being persecuted and harassed by a vindictive regime, but also how many other Indians who dared to speak up against the government were made to suffer.

Dr Pandey has been a highly respected member of civil society and has raised his voice for a multitude of cause over the last 27 years. But just last year, he was placed under house arrest thrice! He recounted this saying, “I was put under house arrest in Lucknow, the capital of the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on 11 and 16 August and 19 December 2019. The first two times on the issue of Kashmir and on the third occasion on the issue of the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens.” He added, “On 17 and 19 August 2019 and 15 January 2020 I was prevented from visiting Ayodhya. The ruling Bhartiya Janata Party government doesn’t want any alternative view on Kashmir, Ayodhya or CAA-NRC to be expressed.”

Brutality inflicted upon protesting students

He then went on to narrate how the police and security forces inflicted brutality on university students, saying, “The Government became the enemy of people who participated in protests against the CAA and NRC after the Act was promulgated in December 2019. The crackdown started with Jamia Millia University in New Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University in UP. The police used tear gas shells and stun grenades to attack students. Mohammad Tariq, a PhD student at AMU, had to get one hand amputated, Nasir lost one thumb and both hands of Tanzim were fractured. First Information Reports against 57 named and 1,200 unnamed were lodged and 26 students were detained on 15 December 2019, and were released after local protests and road blockades by people. Ahamad Raza Khan, a student of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti Urdu Arabi Farsi University in Lucknow was rusticated for merely giving a call for a demonstration.”

Persecution of activists

He also went on to narrate the plight of activists who were tortured in custody by the UP police. Pandey said, “On 19 December, when the call for nationwide protests was given, masked young men appeared from nowhere and indulged in arson and rioting during the peaceful protests in Lucknow. The police didn’t stop them in spite of activist Sadaf Zafar pleading with them, of which there is recorded evidence. Later activists like Sadaf Zafar and Pawan Rao Ambedkar were arrested along with a number of common people, some of whom participated in protests and some were just passers-by. Activist Deepak Kabir was arrested when he went to see Sadaf Zafar at the Hazratganj Police Station in Lucknow. Activist Robin Verma and ‘The Hindu,’ a prominent Indian newspaper, correspondent Omar Rashid were arrested by police on the evening of 19 December. Sadaf Zafar, Pawan Rao Ambedkar, Deepak Kabir and Robin Verma were subjected to torture inside the Hazratganj police station before being sent to jail and Omar Rashid was abused because of his Kashmiri background and then let off after some senior journalists were able to put pressure on the Chief Minister’s Office.” He also narrated how even the elderly weren’t spared saying, “Septuagenarians Advocate Mohammad Shoaib and retired Dalit Inspector General of Police S.R. Darapuri were arrested, even though they were detained at their homes on the day protests and violence took place and sent to jail. The time and place of the arrest of Advocate Shoaib and Darapuri were wrongly shown. Advocate Shoaib was not produced before any Magistrate nor did he sign any arrest memo.”

Targeting Muslims

Pandey then went on to reveal the regime’s insidious ploy to use the protests as an excuse to target Muslims in Uttar Pradesh and how all this transpired allegedly with Chief Minister Adityanath’s blessings. Pandey said, “The CM Yogi Adityanath in a meeting on the evening of 19 December with senior administrative and police officials spoke of taking revenge on people who had indulged in violence and later also said the cost of damage to public property will be recovered from the rioters. After this, police went berserk and indulged in brutal repression. They vandalized homes of well to do Muslims in Muzaffarnagar like Hamid Hasan, Intezar and Farooq in Sarwat and Naseem Ahmed and Ishtekhar in Khalapar, lathi-charged gatherings of Muslims coming out after performing Friday Namaz on 20 December in Meerut and even opened fire.” He added, “When the injured were taken to government hospitals, they refused to entertain them saying that there were instructions from the administration not to treat people with bullet injuries. A number of people injured in police firing did not go to any doctor for the fear of their names being included in the FIRs making them liable to pay for damage to public property caused due to rioting.”   

Pandey also said that the anti-Muslim narrative was spun with full support and willing participation from those in the highest echelons of power. He said, “Even though common citizens including non-Muslims participated in protests almost everywhere, the police and administration targeted only Muslims to create an impression that it was Muslims who created trouble. Prime Minister Narendra Modi even said that miscreants can be recognized from their dress. The ruling BJP was clearly indulging in politics of polarization and communalization by doing this.”

He concluded by saying, “It is a politics of divisiveness, polarization and communalization for political gains. The government has become an enemy to a segment of the population, Muslims and people who don’t agree with its views.”

 

Gov’t became enemy of the people: Indian activist at US Congressional briefing

Dr Sandeep Pandey makes a powerful statement revealing excesses committed against anti-CAA protesters and dissenters in India, allegedly will full blessings of the regime.

US Congressional briefing

On Wednesday, renowned human rights activist Dr Sandeep Pandey spoke at a Congressional Briefing in Washington D.C, where he recounted not only his own experience with being persecuted and harassed by a vindictive regime, but also how many other Indians who dared to speak up against the government were made to suffer.

Dr Pandey has been a highly respected member of civil society and has raised his voice for a multitude of cause over the last 27 years. But just last year, he was placed under house arrest thrice! He recounted this saying, “I was put under house arrest in Lucknow, the capital of the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on 11 and 16 August and 19 December 2019. The first two times on the issue of Kashmir and on the third occasion on the issue of the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens.” He added, “On 17 and 19 August 2019 and 15 January 2020 I was prevented from visiting Ayodhya. The ruling Bhartiya Janata Party government doesn’t want any alternative view on Kashmir, Ayodhya or CAA-NRC to be expressed.”

Brutality inflicted upon protesting students

He then went on to narrate how the police and security forces inflicted brutality on university students, saying, “The Government became the enemy of people who participated in protests against the CAA and NRC after the Act was promulgated in December 2019. The crackdown started with Jamia Millia University in New Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University in UP. The police used tear gas shells and stun grenades to attack students. Mohammad Tariq, a PhD student at AMU, had to get one hand amputated, Nasir lost one thumb and both hands of Tanzim were fractured. First Information Reports against 57 named and 1,200 unnamed were lodged and 26 students were detained on 15 December 2019, and were released after local protests and road blockades by people. Ahamad Raza Khan, a student of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti Urdu Arabi Farsi University in Lucknow was rusticated for merely giving a call for a demonstration.”

Persecution of activists

He also went on to narrate the plight of activists who were tortured in custody by the UP police. Pandey said, “On 19 December, when the call for nationwide protests was given, masked young men appeared from nowhere and indulged in arson and rioting during the peaceful protests in Lucknow. The police didn’t stop them in spite of activist Sadaf Zafar pleading with them, of which there is recorded evidence. Later activists like Sadaf Zafar and Pawan Rao Ambedkar were arrested along with a number of common people, some of whom participated in protests and some were just passers-by. Activist Deepak Kabir was arrested when he went to see Sadaf Zafar at the Hazratganj Police Station in Lucknow. Activist Robin Verma and ‘The Hindu,’ a prominent Indian newspaper, correspondent Omar Rashid were arrested by police on the evening of 19 December. Sadaf Zafar, Pawan Rao Ambedkar, Deepak Kabir and Robin Verma were subjected to torture inside the Hazratganj police station before being sent to jail and Omar Rashid was abused because of his Kashmiri background and then let off after some senior journalists were able to put pressure on the Chief Minister’s Office.” He also narrated how even the elderly weren’t spared saying, “Septuagenarians Advocate Mohammad Shoaib and retired Dalit Inspector General of Police S.R. Darapuri were arrested, even though they were detained at their homes on the day protests and violence took place and sent to jail. The time and place of the arrest of Advocate Shoaib and Darapuri were wrongly shown. Advocate Shoaib was not produced before any Magistrate nor did he sign any arrest memo.”

Targeting Muslims

Pandey then went on to reveal the regime’s insidious ploy to use the protests as an excuse to target Muslims in Uttar Pradesh and how all this transpired allegedly with Chief Minister Adityanath’s blessings. Pandey said, “The CM Yogi Adityanath in a meeting on the evening of 19 December with senior administrative and police officials spoke of taking revenge on people who had indulged in violence and later also said the cost of damage to public property will be recovered from the rioters. After this, police went berserk and indulged in brutal repression. They vandalized homes of well to do Muslims in Muzaffarnagar like Hamid Hasan, Intezar and Farooq in Sarwat and Naseem Ahmed and Ishtekhar in Khalapar, lathi-charged gatherings of Muslims coming out after performing Friday Namaz on 20 December in Meerut and even opened fire.” He added, “When the injured were taken to government hospitals, they refused to entertain them saying that there were instructions from the administration not to treat people with bullet injuries. A number of people injured in police firing did not go to any doctor for the fear of their names being included in the FIRs making them liable to pay for damage to public property caused due to rioting.”   

Pandey also said that the anti-Muslim narrative was spun with full support and willing participation from those in the highest echelons of power. He said, “Even though common citizens including non-Muslims participated in protests almost everywhere, the police and administration targeted only Muslims to create an impression that it was Muslims who created trouble. Prime Minister Narendra Modi even said that miscreants can be recognized from their dress. The ruling BJP was clearly indulging in politics of polarization and communalization by doing this.”

He concluded by saying, “It is a politics of divisiveness, polarization and communalization for political gains. The government has become an enemy to a segment of the population, Muslims and people who don’t agree with its views.”

 

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