‘Why Do You Have Muslim Friends?’: UP Police to Detained Activist

“You are a Hindu, why are you friends with Muslims,” the police reportedly asked Verma.

Published15 Jan 2020, 06:02 AM IST
3 min read

Activist Robin Verma, who was arrested during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 – the CAA – in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow on 20 December last year, told The Hindu that during interrogation, the police asked him why he was friends with Muslims.

“You are a Hindu, why are you friends with Muslims,” the police reportedly asked Verma after accessing his contacts and messages on his phone.

Verma also alleged the police abused him, denied him access to basic amenities and made degrading comments about his wife and his two-year-old daughter.

Verma was arrested along with The Hindu reporter, Omar Rashid, while both were sitting at a restaurant on 20 December 2019.

“I was having dinner with my friend, Omar Rashid when few policemen approached in plain clothes and took us to the Hazratganj Kotwali,” Verma told The Quint.

While Rashid was released a few hours later after report of his detention reached the chief minister’s office, Verma was only released from the Lucknow district jail on Tuesday, 14 January. He had been granted bail last week.

‘Police in Plain Clothes Kicked & Punched Me’

The police allegedly scanned Verma's phone and insulted him for having Muslims on his contact list and WhatsApp, according to The Hindu.

“A [Muslim] student of mine had wished me on my birthday. They saw the message and asked me why do you know him. Why do you have Muslim names on your phone list? Why are you friends with them? Why do you go with them,” The Hindu quoted Verma as saying.

Verma alleged that the police abused him, adding that he was neither shown a court order nor an arrest warrant.

“They abused me and my family. There was a swelling in my face due to beating. I was not given food, nor was allowed to go to the toilet. I was able to drink water the next morning after SR Darapuri intervened.”
Activist Robin Verma told The Quint

Verma alleged that police in plain clothes kicked, punched and beat him up with a leather belt, according to The Hindu.

"It was only with the help of Darapuri ji's relatives that I was able to inform my family on 21 December 2019,” Verma added.

‘Will Push Your Wife & Daughter Into Prostitution’

The activist alleged that the police personnel, most of them in plain clothes or wearing jackets in a way that their badges could not be seen, made degrading remarks about his wife and his daughter.

“We’ll push your wife and daughter into prostitution. We’ll ruin you. You’ve incited riots and set buses on fire,” the police allegedly told Verma.

Verma also alleged that a recovery notice was served to him while he was still in jail which mentions Rs 2.59 cr to be paid by a group of people for damage to public property.

Verma was not named in the FIR at Hazratganj police station but later booked under the same charges, including rioting, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy and damage to public property, according to The Hindu.

However, Verma has rejected the charges against him.

Verma said he did “nothing wrong,” adding that he was only opposing the law which is “unconstitutional and oppresses the poor people of the country.”

(With inputs from The Hindu.)

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