Delhi Riots | National Anthem Doesn't Inflict Injury: 2nd Victim in Viral Clip
Muzammil was among five boys who were beaten up by police officers and made to sing the national anthem.
(This story was first published on 4 March 2020. It has been republished from The Quint's archives in light of the Delhi Police identifying the three police personnel who allegedly coerced five Muslim men to sing the national anthem while they were injured during the northeast Delhi violence in February 2020.)
“The National Anthem is sung with a deep sense of respect, not used to inflict injury,” remarks Muzammil (name changed) with a rattling sound in breathing, followed by long pauses, as he reclines in one corner of his residence in blood-stained Northeast Delhi.
The 16-year-old was one of the five boys who were beaten by the police and asked to sing the National Anthem in Kardampuri on Monday, 24 February, as protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act broke out across Northeast Delhi.
Shortly after the incident, multiple videos of the episode went viral, causing an uproar on social media.
While Muzammil came back home with a sore body and haunting memories that “keep playing in front of his eyes”, 23-year-old Faizan, who too was in the video, did not survive the ordeal.
According to Faizan’s family, the 23-year-old died on the intervening night of 26-27 February, after being released from police custody on the night of 25 February, where he spent close to 24 hours.
‘Was Beaten by Cops for 30 Minutes’
Muzammil maintains that on 24 February, he had gone to the protest site under Babarpur metro station to bring his mother back, but was instead cornered and beaten with sticks by the police. Both the 16-year-old and his parents claim he had never taken part in any protest and that the police had no reason to target him.
While Muzammil says he doesn’t know the police officers who beat them up and made them sing the national anthem, he remembers being taken to the hospital by a different set of officers, who he claims, were from the Jyoti Nagar Police Station. “The police from Jyoti Nagar saved us from a mob and took us to GTB Hospital. They were not the same who attacked us,” he says.
It was only at about 8 pm on Monday, that the 16-year-old’s father, who has been unemployed for six months, saw a glimpse of him at the GTB hospital. “I was so worried about him, that I only wanted to bring him back home. There, I also saw one more person who was in the video.”
However, Muzammil’s medical document from the GTB reads that he was assaulted by a mob. This, his family says is incorrect as he, as seen in the video, was assaulted by policemen and not by a mob.
Faizan Was Dizzy, Remembers Muzammil
According to his father, Muzammil and one of the five boys in the video, were taken to the Jyoti Nagar Police station at about 11 pm on Monday, 24 February. There, the 16-year-old spent about two hours in the lock-up, while his father went home to get some medicines and food.
Muzammil says that although he didn’t know Faizan and the other three boys in the viral video, the police had cornered all five and beat them up. He remembers seeing Faizan at the GTB hospital, where they were taken by the police after being assaulted. “Faizan arrived at the police station a little after us. He just came and lied down on the floor as he was feeling light-headed and had bandage all over his head,” recounted the 16-year-old.
Too Scared to Take Action
Having dropped out of school in the eighth grade a year ago, the 16-year-old had recently started working at a garment factory. His parents, who have four children in total, wanted Muzammil to resume his education and wanted to send him to an open school. But these are just dreams for the family now.
“I don’t know how I will send him to school now. Only we know how we are paying for his treatment. My husband is unemployed. We are scared, really scared to speak.”Muzammil’s Mother
Scared and still recovering from trauma, the family doesn’t want to take any legal action against anyone.
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