‘Wasn’t Defying Kolkata Lockdown, Police Still Beat Me Up’

I did not break any law or do anything wrong.

My Report
3 min read

Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas
Video Producer: Zijah Sherwani

I am Rajesh H Shinde, a filmmaker and an assistant professor of Media Studies in Kolkata. On Monday, 23 March, I was assaulted by Kolkata Police.

On Sunday, we were informed that Kolkata will go under lockdown from the next day. Like any other citizen, I panicked a little and decided to get my urgent work done before it was too late.

So at 10:15 am on Monday, I went to the head office of KMC (Kolkata Municipal Corporation) on SN Bannerjee Road, hoping to collect my father’s death certificate which was needed for my mother’s pension. I was anticipating that my work will be done and I will go back home before the lockdown that would begin at 5 pm.

SN Banerjee Road.
SN Banerjee Road.
(Photo Courtesy: Rajesh H Shinde)

Around 10:30 am I went inside the office and was standing in a queue when suddenly, six to seven policemen barged inside the compound and started screaming at everyone present, ordering us to leave the premises.

I was confused because the lockdown was supposed to start at 5 pm and not before that, so why were the policemen asking us to go? Out of curiosity and genuine concern, I asked them “why can’t we get the death certificate before the lockdown?”

My question didn’t fit them well and before I knew it, they started hitting me. They slapped me, thrashed me and broke my phone. I was hit on my head, I was in pain and didn’t even know what I’d done. This abusive display of power was happening right in front of the DC Central.

‘Wasn’t Defying Kolkata Lockdown, Police Still Beat Me Up’

After relentless cries for help, I was allowed to leave. Later, I posted my ordeal on Facebook and fortunately got an overwhelming response from my friends, family, students, and ex-students. I was ashamed of what had been done to me. I wanted answers and an apology from those who had abused me.

Kolkata Police Responds

Later at night of the same day, I left a message on Kolkata Police’s official Facebook page, narrating the entire incident.

Shinde’s communication to Kolkata Police.
Shinde’s communication to Kolkata Police.
(Photo Courtesy: Rajesh H Shinde)

On Tuesday, 24 March, I got a call from an officer in charge of the New Market Station.

He expressed sympathy after watching my video on social media and said, “whatever happened was sad and shouldn’t have happened.”

He further mentioned that he will send an officer to my place to check on me. Surprisingly, the officer arrived at my place in a few hours and behaved nicely with me. He apologised on behalf of the police department, he also told me that the policemen who assaulted me were from a different thana.

The police officer did not divulge more details. He told me that I had an option of lodging an FIR if I wanted to, but he also said that if I lodge the FIR, the policemen might lose their jobs.

I have no clue whether people can lose their jobs because of this, and in entire honesty, I would never want that. I do, however, want a formal written apology or an apology on social media. This would restore my faith in Kolkata Police.

(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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