'Police Assaulted Us, Broke CCTV Cams': Residents of North West Delhi Slum

'The cops beat us, called us Bangladeshis and broke CCTV cameras in the locality', allege residents of a Delhi slum.

6 min read

Residents of a slum in northwest Delhi have alleged that the Delhi Police raided their slum on the night of 2 November. The slum dwellers of Budh Vihar claim that the cops beat up men, women and children in their homes, called them Bangladeshis, and then broke the CCTV cameras in the locality.

Among those alleging assault by the police are a pregnant woman and a minor boy.

The police admit they have arrested 19 men from the slum as a result of what transpired that night, but have denied all allegations of wrongdoing, violence and torture.


'The Police Called Us Bangladeshis, Said They Will Send Us There'

"Leave this country, all of you are Bangladeshis," the cops told us at the police station," says 19-year-old Samirul Khan, a resident of the slum in Budh Vihar, who says he was detained by the police that night.

The police were telling us, “You Bangladeshis, leave this place. You are a nuisance here.”
Sabina Khatun, slum resident

The police say that the slum-dwellers are making up fabricated stories and that these allegations against them are false.

'Several Women Were Assaulted by the Police' Allege Locals

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Sabina Khatun, a pregnant woman who says she was assaulted by the Delhi Police.</p></div>

Sabina Khatun, a pregnant woman who says she was assaulted by the Delhi Police.

(Photo: Meghnad Bose/The Quint)

"I was pleading them, “I am pregnant, don’t hit me." But they still beat me up with lathis," alleges slum resident Sabina Khatun. She adds, "The cops were drunk. They entered our house and beat me on my stomach and elsewhere. I have bruises on my body from the assault."

Another woman, also named Sabina, says, "When I asked them to not abuse us, they beat me on my back. It’s swollen now. I fell down from the blow. Then they broke the camera and destroyed the evidence of their assault."

Mimi Bibi, a woman resident of the slum in her late twenties, says, "They beat us on our backs, on our thighs. Male police officials were hitting us. They were all drunk, and were stinking of alcohol. Even the SHO was there with them."

"What crime have we done that the Delhi Police beat us women so brutally? There should be a probe on the police’s actions - who gave the police the power to beat us up like this?"
Mimi Bibi, slum resident

The police have denied these claims.


'The Locals Attacked Us': Police

The police say that their efforts to apprehend a man named Basharul from the slum had gone awry.

“We were there to nab a man named Basharul who indulges in criminal activities like gambling and selling illicit liquor. When we went to get him, the locals attacked us because he is like a local chief. A police vehicle was attacked as well.”
Delhi Police

Basharul's wife Mimi Bibi, counters, "They are accusing my husband of being involved in gambling. There is no truth to this. My husband was coming from the other side and the cops started beating him terribly. He works on scrap and plastic waste. The police are lying when they say he was selling illicit liquor. If it was so, then they would have found the alcohol and shown it too, right?"

She points to her husband's phone and adds, "This phone belongs to him. The police broke it. When the cops were dragging my husband away, he asked us to record a video. Then the police broke the phone."

The police say they have arrested 19 men from the slum and have booked them on multiple charges including rioting and obstructing public servants from doing their duty.

The 19 arrested are currently under judicial custody.

Locals Claim 'Cops Broke the CCTV Cameras, Destroyed Other Video Evidence'

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Rajesh Khan showing his damaged phone.</p></div>

Rajesh Khan showing his damaged phone.

(Photo: Meghnad Bose/The Quint)

Rajesh Khan, Basharul's cousin and a resident of the slum, points to his visibly damaged phone and says, "When they were beating up the women, I was making videos of their assault. Then they broke my mobile phone."

Mimi Bibi points to the CCTV camera placed atop her residence and says, "The cops broke this CCTV camera here. They were in the wrong, that is why they did not want to leave any evidence behind. They took the DVR (Digital Video Recorder) away from our home too. If the cops are not at fault, then why did they break the CCTV cameras?"

Speaking to The Quint, Khemendra Pal Singh, the SHO of Budh Vihar Police Station, claimed that the slum residents broke their own CCTV cameras.
<div class="paragraphs"><p>The CCTV camera Mimi Bibi was pointing towards.</p></div>

The CCTV camera Mimi Bibi was pointing towards.

(Photo: Meghnad Bose/The Quint)

On being asked why there was a need to have CCTV cameras in the slum, the locals pointed out that the slum land is disputed - and is claimed by some of the neighbouring Jat families. The slum residents say they installed cameras because they feared that someone could start a fire in the slum, in a bid to remove them from the land.


'Arrests Part of Efforts to Evict Us'

The slum dwellers claim that these arrests are part of efforts to evict them from the land, and that the police is playing a partisan role at the behest of the neighbouring Jat families.

Mimi Bibi asks, "So many poor people live here, where will they go? The (land dispute) case is anyway in court now."

The police deny that the arrests are connected to the land dispute in any way. The police say that the arrests have been made because the slum residents attacked them when they went to nab Basharul, but several slum residents claim that they were inside their homes when the police allegedly attacked them.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Samirul Khan, 19, claims the Delhi Police beat up his father in front of him.</p></div>

Samirul Khan, 19, claims the Delhi Police beat up his father in front of him.

(Photo: Meghnad Bose/The Quint)

Samirul Khan says, "They were kicking on our doors. My father was eating at home when they came in and took him away. They beat him up in front of me. They hit us all the way from our homes, continuously beating us with their sticks."

Minor Boy Says He Was Among Those Beaten Up and Detained by Delhi Police

Deepesh Kumar* (name changed), a 14-year-old slum resident, says he was among those who were assaulted and detained by the Delhi Police on the intervening night of 2 and 3 November.

He recounts, "It was 1:15 am. I was sleeping at home. They woke me up, didn’t ask me anything and directly started beating me." Pointing to his injuries, he says, "This is where they hit me - on my hands and legs."

The eighth standard student adds, "I told them I am 14 years old. But they hit us more. They just kept beating us. They let four of us younger ones go in the morning (on 3 November).

The police have denied that they assaulted any minor.


Those Arrested in Custody, Unease Persists in the Slum

<div class="paragraphs"><p>CCTV footage from the intervening night of 2 and 3 November showing the police take away a couple of locals.</p></div>

CCTV footage from the intervening night of 2 and 3 November showing the police take away a couple of locals.

(Photo: Meghnad Bose/The Quint)

The Delhi Police has charged those apprehended from the slum under Sections 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly guilty of offence), 186 (obstructing public servants), 332 (causing hurt to public servants) and 352 (assault) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

While the 19 men who have been arrested continue to be under judicial custody, their slum in northwest Delhi is still in a state of unease.

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