Where are the Delhi Police getting instructions from?

Brutal Assault on Students, Parents of a Government School and Activists of the Naujawan Bharat Sabha by Delhi Police

The arrests of four activists of the Naujawan Bharat Sabha (NBS) by the Karawal Nagar police station in Delhi late evening of Monday, April 4 provoked widespread protests before they were finally released. On being contacted by Sabrangindia, Inspector GS Mehta of the Karawal police station that the activists were “not arrested but brought to the police station for ‘verification’ in the matter related to a local school.” 

The police however did not comment on allegations of brutal behaviour of the police with students and parents of a local government school, especially girl students, on April 1, however. These allegations of repression by the local police on the political outfit and their activists have been made since April 1 after they had organised a public meeting on 1 April in Karawal Nagar, Delhi against the alleged incidents of manhandling and beating of female students and their parents by the Delhi Police.

The genesis of the problems that led to the detention of NBS activists on Monday, April 4, relate to examination results in a local school.  Reportedly, on April 1, 2016, results of class 9 and 11 were published for the girls shift in the government school in Karawal Nagar.

More than 90% of the students had failed in the exams according to the results that had been displayed on the board at school, the distressed students rushed to the teachers and Principal. The students asked the Principal to look into the matter and asked for re-evaluation of the exam papers. Instead of listening to the grievances of the students, the Principal reportedly called the Police which upon reaching the school premises brutally charged on the girl/women students that had gathered there. As the news of this police beating and manhandling the female students reached the parents and guardians of the students, they also rushed to the school.

When the parents reportedly attempted to intervene, reportedly the police instead of listening to them beat them as well. The police even arrested a few female students along with their parents and took them to the police station, a daily wage worker who had been passing by happened to ask one the policemen as to what was happening inside the school and the policemen in rage beat him and also threw him inside the van.

There are serious allegations that the students were beaten inside the van, abuses were hurled at them while on the way to the police station. The police reportedly even threatened the students and their parents with false charges and severely beat them. While the police finally released the female students late at night of April 1, parents were not let off. They were made to spend the night in custody without any fault of theirs. It was on the next day that activists of Naujawan Bharat Sabha, already active in the area, went to the police station and asked for their release. An initially reluctant Police had to grant bail to the arrested parents as they lacked any evidence against them after the protests grew.

After the release, efforts were made by NBS to mobilise citizens against the police action and brutality. Pamphlets were also distributed in Karawal Nagar urging the students and their parents to organise a public meeting on April 3 to discuss the further course of action. On April 4, the activists distributed a pamphlet outside the school and in the neighbourhood urging the citizens to intervene in the matter so that the future education of the girls is not hindered. A copy of the pamphlet being distributed by the NBS may be read here.

Soon after the pamphlets began to be distributed Yogesh Swamy, an activist of NBS got a call from the Karawal Nagar Police station around noon advising him against distributing the pamphlets or to bear the consequences. Yogesh told the officer on the phone that they are not doing anything illegal, that they are simply trying to help the students get justice. At 7 pm on the evening on April 4, local police barged into the Karawal Nagar located office of Naujawan Bharat Sabha, and started abusing and beating the activists present there. The activists (Rakesh and Rahul) were also beaten inside the office before being thrown into Police vans, one of the activists Sachin, 16 years of age who is ill with malaria and had been asleep was also slapped at the police station.

 The NBS has been active in several parts of north and north east Delhi. The grassroot activities of the NBS include mobilising local communities through popularising history and spreading the message of brotherhood and communal harmony as advocated by Bhagat Singh, Ashfaqullah Khan and Ram Prasad Bismil.

Finally protests and interventions from citizens, intellectuals and journalists led to the release of the activists yesterday. Activists of the NBS, even while they were being released were reportedly threatened by the police against the distribution of pamphlets or organising public meetings and protests. They were reportedly told that ‘the consequences will be very severe’. A press release of the Delhi Unit and its organizer, Sunny Singh has been issued related to the incident.

There is a chilling similarity behind police behaviour across the country and in different states when it comes to groups active in exposing, through the popularising of history, the role of the Sangh Parivar in the national movement. Related to this is the exposing of the Sangh Parivar’s shallow brand of nationalism.

On March 27, 2016, Sabrangindia had reported how, in Mankhurd, a Mumbai suburb, the RSS similarly tried to get the local police to prevent pamphlets exposing the fraudulent bid of the sangh parivar to claim Shaheed Bhagat Singh as their own. The Naujawan Bharat Sabha (NBS) in the area have been distributing leaflets in the area and in local trains.
When threats did not scare the NBS, the sanghis got the local police, and even the anti-terrorism squad to intervene. The police raided the NBS office, confiscated the anti-RSS leaflets and tried to intimidate the activists. Not to be so easily cowed down, the activists challenged the police to explain under which law of the land it was acting to prevent the NBS from exercising their constitutional right to free speech and democratic dissent. Shockingly, they (police) answered that although there is nothing wrong in those pamphlet but people belonging to RSS do not want these pamphlets to be distributed. Finally, when the police could not come up with any substantial argument they had to release activists including Virat Choudhary.

Incidentally, the NBS that has been active on the issue of popularising history of revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh, Asfarquallah Khan and Ramprasad Bismil. Within seven months of the Modi government coming to power in Delhi, on December 19, 2014, Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Delhi, had planned to organise a cultural programme at Ramleela ground (officially called Rajeev Park), Sriram Colony, Khajoori in North East Delhi to commemorate the martyrs Ashfaqullah khan and Ramprasad Bismil, who were hanged to death by the British on this day in 1926.

Although no permission is required to hold any programme at this ground, especially those in which no tent needs to be fixed, the NBS did give a written intimation of this programme to the SHO as well as DCP, North East, Delhi on November 22, 2014. However, on  December 1,2014, the SHO of the local police station informed the organisers that the programme cannot be held at the said venue  as it is ‘disputed’ land. Moreover, he added that this cultural programme, which in fact is being envisaged as upholding the unity of Hindus and Muslims as was exemplified by the unflinching friendship of Bismil and Ashfaqullah, can cause a ‘law and order situation’ in the area.

Finally, despite efforts of the RSS and local police administration to prevent NBS from organizing 'Awami Ekta Diwas' program on the martyrdom day of Bismil, Ashfakullah, Roshan and Lahiri, the NBS unit of Khajoori, Delhi successfully organized the program and hundreds of youth, citizens and children participated in it. Revolutionary songs and a play called 'Desh ko aage badhao' were staged.



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