She hit me so much that the helmet broke”: Pawan Rao Ambedkar on UP police
The activist who was released on bail last week, wasn’t even a part of the protest but was brutally attacked by the Lucknow cops
“There was a lady constable who hit me on the head many times with her helmet. She hit me so much that the helmet broke,” said Dalit activist and mathematician Pawan Rao Ambedkar as he narrated his woeful ordeal in jail to the Huffington Post.
Pawan Ambedkar, 37, was one of the people who were caught in the brutal assault by the Uttar Pradesh police that it unleashed on protestors in agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Many activists, including Sadaf Jafar and S R Darapuri among others were arrested during the protest. Before the protests could take place, the police had slapped Section 144 in the city of Lucknow. However, defying the curb, many people had taken to the street to voice their displeasure against the fascist policies of the government.
It was then that the police came down heavily on the protestors, indiscriminately beating up anyone in their sight. Ambedkar ran for cover and managed to take refuge inside a house near the FabIndia clothing store in Hazratganj market where he stayed for an hour.
He left an hour later, thinking that matters outside would’ve settled, but the minute he stepped out, he was attacked by a mob of policemen who started beating him up with batons. He fell on the ground, and recalled that someone, pulled him into a sitting position so that the police could resume giving him blows on his back.
“The police did not ask me anything. There was no dialogue. It was a brutal attack,” he said. “They hit me on my head. After four or five blows, I was flat. They hit me wherever they could. I lost consciousness. I don’t think I came back to my senses after that. I was in a semi-conscious state,” he said.
Soon, he was dragged to Parivartan Chowk where the abominable incident of the policewoman beating him up with the helmet took place and he said, “The blows from the helmet and lathis were happening at the same time.”
At the Hazratganj police station where he said at least 25 people, all of whom were Muslim and he, the only Dalit, were crammed into a small cell. His last name, had it been any different, got him to question whether the treatment he received at the hands of the police would’ve been any different.
“My name is enough for the police to think they can beat me,” he said. “A good education, good clothes, a good way of speaking, means nothing. Discrimination is ingrained in our society. They hear my name and think — we have the right to mistreat you the way our ancestors did,” he told the Huffington Post.
In prison, he was charged with grave charges like attempt to murder, arson and being in possession of explosives and on being asked of allegations of torture and assault all that the Lucknow Superintendent of Police (east) Suresh Chandra Rawat had to say was, “There was no violation of human rights. The norms were followed during the arrest of those accused of arson during the anti-CAA protest.
Ambedkar spent almost spend 2 weeks in jail, was not heard even once by the police. Inside the police station, he and the others were beaten up by plainclothes officers, huddled into a filthy room together and abused verbally as well.
Recounting the horror of being cramped up in the tiny cell, he said, “There was only one Indian-style toilet with a flush that did not work and no soap for people to wash their hands, he said. The floor of the cell was very cold. People kept asking for blankets all night but they did not give,” he said. “They did not give us any food. They gave water but it was after midnight or one in the morning because so many people were asking.”
It was around 10 in the night when the Station House Officer (SHO) Dheerendra Kushwaha, whose name he later learned, came into the cell, asked for him by name and kicked him in the stomach, said Ambedkar.
“It was not a police revenge, it was an ideological revenge,” he said. “They had gone mad.”
Deepak Kabir who had gone to save his fellow activists was also beaten up by the cops and thrown into jail, but the SHO denied all such allegations calling them baseless and untrue saying he had “no time to beat anyone up” while trying to control the violence.
Ashma Izzat, Ambedkar’s lawyer told Judge SS Pandey at the bail hearing that the police had abused the rule of law. She said, “The police do not have the power to pick up people from the road, beat them, keep them in jail overnight and then beat them again. The police have abused the rule of law. What the police have done is a criminal offence.”
Ambedkar, who is now recovering from his wounds recalled that on the way to Lucknow district jail, kicked the illegal detainees as they were asked to clamber inside the bus. “People on the bus were asking, ‘Are you taking us to court? Where are we going?’ There was panic. People were saying, ‘Are they taking us somewhere to shoot us? Are they going to encounter us?” he said.
“The police is supposed to have a conscience of its own,” said Ambedkar who dedicated himself to full time activist three years ago. Today he is just happy that they were not “encountered” by the police.
(Source – Huffington Post)