Monday, September 29, 2014

Vadodara violence spot query: Plainclothes 'cops' gatecrash houses, pick up boys, assault women, smash goodies

By Our Representative
A team of social activists, who visited some of the strife-torn areas of Vadodara, Gujarat’s third big city, on September 27-28, 2014, have taken strong exception to the “role of the police, particularly plainclothes cops, also known as D staff”, during the communal violence which has been continuing in sensitive areas for the last several days. Claiming that they decided to make an on-the-spot inquiry “on the request of the affected people”, the social activists, in a faxed message to E Radhakrishnan, city police commissioner, said, “The police should have prevented violence and arrested those who undertake violence”, but this has not happened.
In the process of coming up with a detailed report on their spot inquiry, the social activists said, many people, particularly women, in the affected areas “complaint about the verbal abuse and physical assault on them by the police. The marks of injury were visible on their body.” All this happened despite the fact that the police commissioner had “promised to look in to the matter and assured them that this would not be repeated.”
Signatories include Trupti Shah and Reshma Vora of Sahiyar Women’s Organisation, Rohit Prajati, Ashok Gupta and S Shrinivasan of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), and two social workers Shaukat Indori and Sabiha Hakim. A copy of the faxed message was sent to Gujarat’s home secretary SK Nanda and National Human Rights Commission chairman G Balakrishnan.
The social activists said, “We were shocked to know that brutal police attacks are continued on the night of September 27, 2014. As per the complaint by Ashiyana Abdul Latif Shaikh (aged about 45 years), on the night of 27, at around 2.00 am, the police rounded up the moholla of the area of Wadi Taiwada and entered the houses of people.” Things did not stop here, they said.
“About 8-10 plainclothes policemen, who had their faces covered and had iron rods in their hand, broke the door and a window and entered the house. They broke the fridge, smashed the lights and picked up her son Abdul Raheman, 19. When womenfolk protested, they assaulted Ashiyana on head and hands, her younger daughter Mubina on back and legs and brutally assaulted daughter Amrin Abdul Latif Shaikh, 22”, the message said.
The cops, the social activists contended, tore “Amrin’s clothes and beat her up with iron road on head, shoulder and back. She became unconscious and was admitted in the Sayaji General Hospital in the morning of September 28, 2014.” While in hospital “she spoke about the assault by police as reason for her injuries and also registered her complaint in the Police Station of the General Hospital”, the message said, yet, shockingly, “the doctor mentions assault by opposing party in her case paper and she is not sure what police has mentioned in the FIR.”
Pointing out that the police is refusing to part with a copy of the FIR, the message said, “She was discharged at about 2.00 p.m. on the same day, and while we are writing this her mental and physical condition has turned from bad to worse.“Other women were also assaulted similarly, but have not yet gone to hospital due to the fear of more violence.”
The message complained that despite efforts to contact him on his cell phone, he could not be approached, and only on September 29, 2014 could he be approached. As no appointment was given the message was being faxed and emailed. Characterising the situation in Vadodara as having been “vitiated by communal forces and the blatant violation of human rights by police will not save the situation”, the message said, “We expect immediate steps from you.”

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