‘Was Beaten Up With Sticks’: Pregnant Eyewitness of Delhi Riots
“There were men with scarves around their necks carrying wooden sticks, swords, stones, guns and bombs.”
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35 year old Rubina Bano is 9 months pregnant. She is past her due date and doctors have told her that they will have to perform a C-section because her baby has turned sideways in her womb, but this isn’t the only worry she is dealing with right now.
An eyewitness to the police brutality and riots that started on 24 February, at the anti-CAA protest site in Chand Bagh in North-East Delhi. Rubina filed a complaint at the Idgah Relief Camp on 19 March, since then she has been alleging harassment by the Delhi Police and supporters of BJP leaders Kapil Mishra and Mohan Singh Bisht.
Her complaint was received as Diary Entry No 82 by the Police Help Desk at the Idgah Relief Camp and bears the stamp of Dayalpur Police Station.
Rubina has named ACP Anuj Kumar, SHO of Dayalpur Police Station- Talkeshwar, Kapil Mishra and supporters of BJP MLA Mohan Singh Bisht as those responsible for the violence.
‘Aaj Tumhe Zindagi Se Aazadi Denge’
In her complaint she claims that ACP Anuj Kumar was taking orders from BJP Kapil Mishra on the phone and promised to kill as many people as possible. Here is an excerpt from her complaint:
“I reached the protest site at 11 am and found that many policemen along with men wearing military fatigues, ACP Anuj Kumar and the SHO of Dayalpur were arguing and abusing women protesters. They were saying, ‘aaj tumhe zindigi se hi aazadi de denge’ (today we will give you freedom from your life).
There was a large crowd with the police. I remembered seeing some them with Mohan Singh Bisht during elections. There were men with scarves around their necks carrying wooden sticks, swords, stones, guns and bombs. I went up to ACP Anuj Kumar and asked him why he was troubling us when we were sitting quietly and participating in a peaceful protest inside the tent.
He used abusive language and said ‘Kapil Mishra aur uske log aaj yahin tumhe tumhaari zindigi se aazadi denge’ (Kapil Mishra and his men will give you freedom from your lives today).”
“Just then the SHO of Dayalpur Police Station- Talkeshwar quickly walked up towards the ACP and gave him the phone saying, ‘Kapil Mishra ji is on the line’. While talking to him, the ACP kept agreeing with him saying, ‘ji ji’ (yes, yes).
Then before putting down the phone he said, ‘Fikr mat karo, laashen bichha denge. Inki pushten yaad rakhengi’ (Don’t worry, we will cover this place with dead bodies, their future generations will remember). He put down the phone and told the SHO and others to start beating us.”
‘Was Attacked With Wooden Sticks and Stone’: Rubina
Rubina claims that ACP Anuj Kumar along with the rioters tore off posters of freedom fighters from the protest site. She also claims that rioters standing on top of Mohan Nursing Home started pelting stones and bombs towards them. When the women protesters started running away, the rioters allegedly caught hold of young women and misbehaved with them. She claims when some men came forward to protect the girls, they were attacked with swords and sticks and the police fired bullets at them.
Rubina, who was three months pregnant at the time, was also reportedly attacked with wooden sticks, stones and rifle butts. After she collapsed she was taken to Al Hind Hospital. She claims the staff there tried to call for an ambulance but there was no response.
After two days she was taken to AIIMS and then to GTB hospital. At GTB the staff asked her to get a permission letter from the SHO. They also told her that they had directions from higher ups that no one should be given treatment.
In the complaint itself Rubina wrote that the SHO had refused to receive her complaint saying that he would not receive any complaint where the accused had been named. She also alleged that he threatened to register a fake case against her.
In a second complaint filed by her on 30 July and submitted to the office of DCP, North East Delhi, Rubina alleged that policemen and supporters of BJP leaders Kapil Mishra and Mohan Singh Bisht had threatened to kidnap her and kill her child in her womb if she did not withdraw her complaint.
She also claimed that armed goons had turned up at her doorstep on 24 July and threatened to kill her. She claimed that since that day, goons have been roaming around outside her house.
‘My Husband Was Accosted by Armed Goons’: Rubina
She alleged that they even accosted her husband one evening and threatened him saying, ‘teri biwi ko samajh nahi aa raha ke who kin logon se panga le rahi hai. Usse samjhaao ke who chupchaap complaint wapas le le nahi toh tum sab maare jaoge’ (your wife does not know who she is inviting trouble from. If she doesn’t withdraw her complaint, all of you are going to get killed).
When repeated pleas for help from the police allegedly went unheard, Rubina filed a petition before the Delhi High Court asking for registration of an FIR on her complaint and protection for her and her family.
On 7 August, she agreed to withdraw her petition after the counsel for Delhi Police gave an undertaking that Rubina’s complaint would be inquired into and that she would be given protection. The police also told the court that they would share the mobile number of the new SHO of Dayalpur Police Station with her so she could contact him when needed.
It has been two weeks since the police gave an undertaking to the High Court to protect her, but no action has been taken so far. Rubina claims that goons continue to roam outside her house and she is living in constant fear of being attacked.
Advocate Mehmood Pracha, who represented Rubina in court, claims the Delhi Police have no regard for the Delhi High Court. ‘Despite the undertaking they have still not provided her with any security. The police wants her to withdraw her complaint. Instead of protecting her, they are threatening to kill the child in her womb. They do not care about anything else’.
When contacted, Delhi Police’s counsel Amit Prasad said that according to what was discussed in court, Rubina was supposed to call or send a message to the SHO whenever she needed security personnel to be deployed and security would be provided to her. ‘I have checked with the police and they received a message from her on 24 August claiming that she needed protection to visit her lawyer’s office.’
The SHO responded immediately and asked what time she would be leaving but there was no response from her. Also you must note that the High Court’s statement was with respect to medical attention but that order is being stretched for other purposes’, he said.
Prasad also confirmed that Rubina has been named as an accused in a riots case but no coercive action has been taken against her because of her medical condition.
Karawal Nagar MLA Mohan Singh Bisht has dismissed the allegations against him and accused riot victims of harassment.
They have been adding my name to their complaints even though I was not seen by anyone. What do they mean by saying that they saw people who had accompanied me during my election campaign, indulging in riots?Karawal Nagar MLA Mohan Singh Bisht
How did I get into the picture? When I was campaigning I used to move around with 500 people with me. One lakh people voted for me. How am I supposed to know who is a criminal. I have been an MLA from the area 5 times. Lots of people know me and meet me but that does not mean that I can vouch for everyone or I am responsible for their actions’.”
ACP Anuj Kumar, who Rubina has accused of taking orders from Kapil Mishra and rioting, was injured during violence that took place in Chandbagh and Gokulpuri on 24 February. The police claimed that he received a serious head injury while trying to rescue DCP Shahdara Amit Sharma.
He has since been promoted to the post of Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, South District.
‘Unsubstantiated Claims Against Police’: Addl DCP Kumar
When contacted, Additional DCP Kumar said, ‘I cannot respond to all allegations. I will respond in court. We have technical evidence to support our story. Several policemen suffered bullet injuries during the violence that unfolded near Gokulpuri that day. We have 70 MLCs to support our claim. One policeman lost his life. They can say whatever they want to but these are all unsubstantiated claims’.
When we last spoke to Rubina, she was extremely worried and anxious. She told us that the police had come to her house on 23 August and threatened to pick up her 15-year-old son in a riot related case.
She claimed that he had gone out to play cricket and was captured on video and this video was now being used against him. Her blood pressure had shot up and she needed to visit her doctor but was too scared to step out of her house.
“My life is in danger. I am nine months pregnant and they are subjecting me to mental torture. I have been hiding in my house out of fear and haven’t even stepped out for essential ultra-sounds. My family, my unborn child and I need protection from SHO Taalkedhar, ACP Anuj Kumar, Mohan Singh Bhisht, Kapil Mishra and their men”, she pleaded.
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