In what seems like a brazen attempt to intimidate democratic voices, the Mumbai police today arrived at the doorstep of Preethy Shekhar, who organised a public event against mob lynching on Sunday in the city.
Celebrated actor Naseeruddin Shah had addressed the event along with activists Teesta Setalvad and Ram Puniyani among others. Other speakers included family members of Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, Junaid Khan, Mohsin sheikh and survivors of the Una atrocity among others.
The event was called National Convention against State Complicity in Hate Crimes. This was Sunday. On Tuesday, the state proved its complicity in hate crimes by sending the police to Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) Maharashtra State Secretary, Preethy Shekhar's house to arrest her. According to Ms Shekhar, warrant was of a case in connection with a peaceful morcha against unemployment in 2013. Is it mere coincidence that the state remembers a six year old case two days after a event critical to its silence, nay complicity, in mob lynchings was organised? Or is it just another way to scuttle dissent?
Speaking to Sabrang India, Ms Preethy Shekhar said, "While I can't say for sure if they had come knocking because of Sunday's event, the warrant itself was bailable for which they could have called me on the phone if at all. The fact that a police team from Azad Maidan police station go all the way to Vasai Road (roughly 75 kilometers away) while I was in Churchgate (roughly a kilometer away) is fishy in itself."
Police Inspector, Mangesh Sangle, who was part of the team that had to gone to her house told Sabrang India that he didn't know much about the case, that he was just following 'orders'. As per him "Preeti Madam ne andolan kiya tha 2013 mein uska case hai
." He said he didn't know anything about the program conducted on Sunday. When further questions were asked he said that he couldn't hear properly and that one needs to visit the Azad Nagar police station for further information.
Here's a written note by Preethy Shekhar :
Today morning 5 policepersons including a policewoman came to my apartment in Vasai Road looking for me. My husband and I had left for work in Mumbai by then and my son had left for his college. One of our comrades in Vasai, a maintenance contractor, was at our apartment in connection with some maintenance work that is going on. I am told, one of the policepersons among them behaved very rudely to him and spoke insultingly about me hinting that I am hiding somewhere in the apartment. Later when I got opportunity to speak to that person over phone, I warned him not to think of us as criminals. The warrant (against me and Comrade Sunita Pawar) is of a case in connection with a peaceful Morcha held in 2013. We have now talked to the police persons over phone and told them forcefully that we are not absconders. Neither have we received any summons in recent past in this case. We have assured them that we will go to the Police station or be present in the court for the next hearing as necessary and comply with all legal requirements as defendants in this case.
National Convention demands special law on Mob-lynching