protest police brutality
However none of Delhi
University officials could find time to attend the seminar. Ms. Vimlesh
Yadav, S.H.O. Maurice Nagar represented the police department. Among the
main speakers were representative students and teacher groups who have
been functioning as watchdogs of human rights in DU. Mr. D.N. Kalia Member,
Academic Council, presided over the seminar. Sunil Kumar Mohanto, General
Secretary of Progressive Welfare Front for the Blind (PWFB) gave a verbatim
account of his movement to get relevant provisions of Persons With Disability
Act implemented in Delhi University since 17th of October 2002, when an
indefinite dharna was started in support of this demand. He also narrated
in detail the oppressions the visually impaired agitators had been facing
since 22nd December 2002, when the Delhi University authorities dismantled
the tent that had been pitched by Sunil Mohanto's organization. A detailed
description is given in the PUCL-DU report titled Jailed
for Demanding Implementation of Law, which was presented by Sarfaraz.
They made them take
off their clothes and footwear and beat them up and told them to run away
from there. In that condition he went to Sunil Mohanto's house and from
there to police station and finally to Khalsa College where police arrested
him along with others. At police station, he was again beaten up because
the police recognized him from the dharna. He was kept in Tihar jail without
any footwear. When he was released on bail, another prisoner lent him
a pair of chappals, which he wore on the Seminar day too. Ramprasad, another
eyewitness to the incident of 22nd December said that he had just come
after taking his bath and was wearing his trousers when the police started
beating him. He was not even allowed to pick up his purse or his shirt.
He charged the SHO Maurice Nagar for being inactive.
They were at a loss to understand how a handful of them (about 87) that too, visually impaired could not be handled by a big police force belonging to Maurice Nagar, Timarpur, and Civil Lines police Stations. They opined that the police version of the story that 16 policemen were injured, two of them seriously in the scuffle with these 89 visually impaired, shows that the police in Delhi was not capable of handling sensitive security problems of the National Capital Region of Delhi. It was suggested that if the visually impaired could handle the police so effectively than the police jobs should go to the visually impaired. They also asked whether the visually impaired were charged U/s 308 because the police personnel got beaten up by them. One of the arrested persons mentioned that, in his whole life he has not even scratched any person with his fingernail. But the police had charged him U/s 308 isn't it the police which converts innocent men into terrorist by arresting and putting them behind the bars under such sections.
The SHO was also asked that, if the police personnel received such serious injuries why was MLC not done? Manjula Gulati pointedly asked whether the police had orders to beat up and arrest these persons. The students were amused with the SHO's reiteration that she was sympathetic to their cause and that this is why the visually impaired were booked only U/s 308. The SHO also said that she had been in constant touch with the persons sitting on dharna. To this she was asked as to why her police force did not provide any protection to those who were peacefully sitting on dharna. The SHO told the house that the University authorities and not the Delhi police dismantled the tent. As the University authorities foresaw law and order problem while dismantling the tent and removing the visually impaired, they had requested for the presence of the police force to control the situation. Her admission virtually implied that the police was there to protect the university authorities from the visually impaired not vice versa.
This really upset
the audience. Uma Gupta of AISA asked her how come the police were to
protect only the authorities and not the students? She also asked the
SHO that why didn't the police intervene when the University authorities
were violating the human rights of the persons with disability?