Hyderabad: The Hyderabad city police detained overnight a number of protesters, including women and two minors, who had participated in a ‘flash protest’ against the CAA-NPR-NRC on Saturday night at Mallepally. They were held in a stadium and released only at about 8.30 am on Sunday.
A group of youths and women had gathered at the Riyan Hotel junction, Mallepally, at around 10 pm on Saturday to protest against the CAA and the central government's policies.
Senior police officers rushed to the spot with a large contingent of police personnel from various branches.
The police bundled the protesters into a police van and took them away. There were 19 youths and 12 women. The police claimed that other protesters pelted stones at the van. The van took the protestors to the Goshamahal police stadium. The women were later shifted to the Central Crime Station (CCS). The Commissioner's Task Force West Zone also detained Mohammed Mubashiruddin Khurram, senior reporter of a local Urdu daily. He was released after 14 hours.
The Habeebnagar police has registered a case against 18 youths and 10 women, including Shiba Minai and Khalida Parveen under Sections 147, 341, 353, 188 r/w 149 of the India Penal Code and the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act.
The detainees complained that some of the young men who were detained during the protest at Mallepally, were beaten by the police in the van and in custody. A few were locked up and interrogated.
Ms Minai says they were detained without pre-detention warning. Though women were shifted to CCS, the men were kept in the Goshamahal Stadium without basic facilities. "We understand that the cops are doing their job, but it is also their duty to safeguard the citizens. They have to understand the feelings of the society and our uneasiness," she said.
Parents of minor students alleged that their wards were beaten by the police at the Task Force Office. They complained that the police did not inform them about the detention that night (as required by law) and informed them only next morning. They also complained that the police warned them that if their children participate in protests in future, they will communicate with their institution and "your children will be debarred". The police also said, according to the parents, that "if you allow the children to participate in such protests, they will join terror groups in the future".
The Hyderabad City Police has been criticised for its heavy-handed handling of the protests over the CAA, NPR and NRC. Advocate Mahboob Ali Mohammed said the detention of people at Mallepally, as reported, showed the impulsive eagerness of the Hyderabad police, and infringed on the constitutional rights of peaceful protest granted to all citizens.
Moreover, the detention of women after sunset and before sunrise is against section 46 (4) of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the guidelines of the Supreme Court, and the beating of minors as alleged is totally wrong. Police counselling parents that their wards will turn into extremists if they protest is an unnecessary and unwanted piece of officiousness.
He said the detention of a senior journalist without sharing the arrest details and whereabouts is against the D K Basu Arrest Guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court of India. The police should promptly consider the recent Telangana High Court order to allow women to protest against NRC, CAA by providing a peaceful location for them to do so and which would not stop traffic and business.
Dr Lubna Sarwath, state general secretary, Socialist Party (India), Hyderabad, and Maqbool Mateen, president, United Citizens' Forum, reacting to the incident criticised the action of the police but appreciated the police allowing medicines for the detained journalist Mubashshiruddin Khurram during his illegal detention. They condemned indiscriminate detentions of peaceful protesters and the journalist.
"We urge the Hyderabad police to discharge their duties impartially, as per the law, as they are bound to under oath. They are bound to enable and protect. It is disheartening to hear of a senior reputed journalist being picked up when he was discharging his democratic journalistic duties. We do not want the public to lose faith in the police and we want to strengthen the friendly bond between police and public," said Ms Sarwath.
Mr Mateen said the police is on the wrong side of the law if they identify and address any person based on their religion and not as a citizen. The police is on the wrong side of the law if they selectively enable a pro CAA meeting at Quli Qutub Shah stadium and on the other hand denounce anti CAA protests and reject protest permission applications.
"We call on Hyderabad Police to give adequate protection to democratically conduct peaceful appeal-protests and enable their smooth conduct so that we protect freedom and liberty for this generation and future generations of India," he said....