The brutality with which Delhi Police handled the protest at Delhi Gate, is highly vindictive and clearly fueled by hate.
At the Delhi Gate Protest yesterday, we were present from 2:30pm.
The protestors were rattling the barricades, pushing, defying a line of people who were calming the protestors and telling the police “Sir lathi mat maro, thoda gussa hai, hum log shant karaenge”, which they were doing.
They were pushing back the people who were pushing the barricades. (Video in post). Some people pulled one barricade towards them, while there was still a barricade between protestors and police. (There were double barricades). The protestors came back and lifted the barricade again and they were begging the police not to use lathis.
The first stone in the entire protest by which I was hit from the terrace of the DCP’s office, on the other side of the barricade. The protestors were still trying to control the whole situation, asking the police not to do anything, when 4-5 stones were hurled.
The police started the water cannon around 6:30 pm. The protestors were dispersed. They ran away and the officer in-charge (A turbaned Sikh) said, “What are you waiting for? Break the barricade, go in, beat them up”, and the RAF and the police pushed the barricade running after the protestors and indiscriminately beating them up.
There were 100s of shoes and chappals on the road. People screaming. Police entering into lanes and pulling people out. People pleading, i was just coming from work, i wasn’t here, but still were beaten up.
We heard loud thuds 6-7 times, and were looking around to see what it was. Then a man started screaming. He was on the other side of the divider. I gave my phone and Gimble to a colleague and jumped the divider screaming at the RAF cop and then started my phone video, which made him stop and walk away. Then the police started screaming at me to stop the recording. (Video in the post)
He was badly beaten up. I took water out of my bag and till then 2 other people came there and we were trying to make him sit straight. We somehow managed to lift him and walked towards the hospital and took a cycle rickshaw there.
The police were present in heavy numbers in the hospital too, making sure no one records anything, talks to patients, or clicks pictures. While I was there for two and half hours there were at least 40 people brought inside, all from the protest and at least half of them with a bad head injury. Children as young as 16 years old to a 75 year old man.
The person we took to the hospital was crying and couldn’t stop. He said,”Kyu bachaya sahab. Marne hi dete. Jaan maang lo desh ke liye gardan kaatke de denge. 1 baar nahi sochenge, lekin ye dogla vyavhar kyu hamare sath. Kya kiya hai humne?” He was badly beaten up, with a head wound. He said,”Is dard se jyada to dil me dard ho raha hai sir. Hum bhi apne hi hai. Humare sath kyu kar rahe hai ye?” We promised him that we won’t give up the fight to end this CAA and intend to keep it going, come what may.
(The hospital experience is a different horrible story.) I made friends with two amazing women who were fighting with the doctors and the police and had brought in people beaten up at the protest.
From there I went to Jama Masjid at 10:00pm, where Chandrashekhar Azad was protesting inside the Masjid with 500-600 people. They were sloganeering, singing songs, distributing biscuits, tea, and food. Azad had already ditched the police when he was arrested around 1:00pm and reemerged at the Masjid at 5:00pm.
The police was waiting outside. The protest went on till 1:00am, when the police pushed the people outside the Masjid into the lane opposite to Gate 1. These people were threatened with lathicharge and filing of cases against them while all they were doing was protesting peacefully.
A group of 10 people groups entered Jama Masjid and asked protestors to come out and leave Chandrashekhar there.
Around 2:00am the police stopped the media from entering the Masjid. When I resisted they said, “If your cameras are here they won’t come out. We have orders to disperse everyone, at any cost.”
Then they started pressurizing the people sitting inside the Masjid by warning them over megaphone saying, “Police, civilians using speakers” and announcing “This is a place of worship. Not for sloganeering. Come out or we will have to take action.”
The police was pressurizing Azad by holding him hostage, and saying that they won’t release the people arrested in the day at Delhi Gate until he gives himself up. After a lot of pressurizing, even by locals, that he is putting the entire area’s life at risk, Azad walked out of the Masjid at 3:17am.
I was with the Police in the front line of the barricade, and saw, heard what they were talking before breaking the barricade and how they were screaming, hooting at the RAF members beating up random people to unconsciousness. I was around the Police at Jama Masjid and heard what they were saying. There is somehow an inherent anger, hate against minorities, which I felt, saw, heard.
From all the #AntiCAA protests one thing is clear. We got to see the real face of Delhi Police, which is full of blind hate. Whatever the orders might be. This isn’t justified.