In the continuous series of hate crimes and mob lynching incidents, another case came to light where a Bombay high court lawyer suffered verbal abuse and physical assault by three policemen at a Naka-Bandi near the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), Mumbai.
On 30th September, around midnight Abid Abbas Sayyed, along with his friend were on their way from Kurla to Bandra when their scooter was stopped near BKC and Abid was asked to show his two-wheeler driving licence.
At the BKC entrance exists a signal, crossing which one comes across a Naka-Bandi that always persists but wasn’t there that night, says Abid.
“There was no barricade, and it is a narrow road. There was just a police van. The police had kind of, maintained their stance like that of a Naka-Bandi. They stopped my scooty and asked for my driving licence. I told them I don’t have one currently on me but have a soft copy in my Digi locker, a digitization service provided by the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, that has legal significance. I told them to give me some time to access the Digi locker, and till then, they went away to check out other vehicles.” -Abid
It was a sudden aggressive comeback by one of the police officers that shook Abid and asked why he was unable to show his driving licence, wherein he told the officials that due to a server issue, he was unable to access the Digi locker.
“They said that they don’t care and that it’s not their problem but the Government’s website issue that the Digi locker is not working. Afterwards, one of them suddenly made a lewd remark targeting my religion. I told him not to abuse me. I had told them I was an advocate and proved it by showing my Bar Council identity card, but they still didn’t hesitate to misbehave. Suddenly, one of the officers pushed me, and I politely told him not to and that if they wanted to take me to the police station, they could, but not to push me around or abuse me,” he said.
Abid said that the moment he sat with the police in the van, he was subjected to physical assault. He was slapped and beaten with rods. Two constables were already in the van, who kicked and slapped him as well.
“Two more constables were standing near the van, who commented that I should be killed, and my body should be dumped, in the nearby Mithi river. I am sure when they were saying and doing all this, they weren’t conscious, they were drunk, it was visible, and I could also smell it. It was horrible, I was almost strangled,” he said.
Abid said he suffered another hateful remark, he was called a terrorist.
“Tum log hai na, desh drohi hai” (You people are terrorists)
“It was extremely hurtful to hear that word subjected against my community. It is a clear example of religious atrocity,” says Abid.
“I couldn’t see the name plates, but the man who assaulted me the most, I only saw his surname, Poojari.” -Abid
Afterwards, it was Abid’s friend who came to his rescue. Abid and his friend were also threatened with IPC Section 353, where “Whoever assaults a public servant on duty or prevents them from doing their job can be punished with up to two years in prison, a fine, or both.”
Abid was forced to sign on blank papers. The police constables also took his name and address and he was then threatened again before he was let go.
“It was shocking to me as a lawyer to undergo such atrocity. I am a practising lawyer; I have good friends in the police circle with whom I work and eat, and now I suffer such an incident. After this, it hit my conscious that somewhere in their minds, no matter how friendly they are, they have mainstream communal beliefs. In our own country, it is hurtful that we have to prove our loyalty,” he said.
Abid has now written to the BKC police station in Kurla, demanding action.
“I kindly request your immediate attention to this matter and immediate F.I.R. (First Information Report) be registered against the 3 Police Constable and 1 Sub-Inspector and they be suspended and arrested,” Abid said in the letter.