‘Being punished instead of rewarded’

June 29, 2020 11:07 pm | Updated 11:07 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Hospital owner M.A. Anwar has been mentioned in a riots-related chargesheet

Dr. M.A. Anwar at Al-Hind Hospital in north-east Delhi.

There was total system failure from February 24-26 in the Capital — where all the powerful people reside — as riots ripped through north-east Delhi, but I am being punished for helping people, said M.A. Anwar, owner of Al-Hind Hospital in Jafrabad. His name has found mention in a riots-related chargesheet recently submitted by the Delhi police.

“The police saw me as a hurdle. That is probably the reason why they decided that they should defame me. By doing this, they are sending a message, so that no one tries to help the victims,” he claimed. “


Jis kaam ke liye mujhe reward dena chahiye tha… aaj mujhe punish kiya ja raha hai, pareshan kiya ja raha hai [For the work they should have rewarded me, they are punishing and harassing me]”.


On Monday, Dr. Anwar was treating a seven-year-old girl at the hospital, packed with patients.

The girl, with a severe burn injury on her right foot, was wailing in pain during the examination. “This injury was also caused during the riots. A part of her foot has still not healed,” he said. Those three days of communal violence and the aftermath are vivid in his memory. It was followed by police questioning during the month of Ramzan.

On February 24, Dr. Anwar returned from Bihar after attending a funeral of a relative. As soon as he reached the hospital that day, severely injured people started coming in. Due to the barricades installed by the police in the area, they could not be shifted to better hospitals. Dr. Anwar moved the High Court through his advocate Suroor Mander, and in a midnight hearing, Justice S. Muralidhar ordered safe passage of patients. “That is probably what ticked off the police ,” he said.

Selfless service

Dr. Anwar recalled how people kept coming in with grave injuries for over three days after the violence ended. “I would treat one and the other would start crying in pain. In this small hospital, we treated people without asking for their name, caste, class, religion, address and without asking for money,” he said.

On the first floor, right above the hospital, he gave refuge to people whose houses were damaged in the riots. Dr. Anwar added that he was in constant touch with police officers, including senior officers, informing them about the situation and also asking for help.

“The mob wanted to set a sweetshop on fire, I stood in front of them and stopped it. I got to know that another shop was being set ablaze, I called officers and informed them about it,” he added.

In the chargesheet, the police have stated that Dr. Anwar was one of the organisers of the protest at Farooqia Masjid. However, the doctor said that he, in fact, had called the police to clear the protest as the gathering created problems while commuting, “I never even visited the protest site.”

In the month of Ramzan, Dr. Anwar was called in for questioning by the Special Cell and Crime Branch at least six times.

“The experience was harrowing. They would ask me questions like who served biryani at the protest, water at the protest… give us names… questions I had no answers to,” he said. Dr. Anwar was allegedly made to stand outside the unit’s office for hours in the heat while observing fast. “What else can we call harassment? I got so dehydrated and weak during that time that I still haven’t recovered,” he said, adding that COVID-19 guidelines of sanitising spaces were not followed in the room that he used to be questioned in.

Death threats

On May 15, Dr. Anwar, through his advocate, also sent a complaint via email to police officers stating that he was feeling scared as he had received threat calls on WhatsApp from international numbers wherein the caller allegedly said that the doctor foiled their plan of killing several members of the Muslim community. The doctor also alleged that the police, during questioning, threatened to slap stricter sections against him.

His family, including wife and two minor children, are scared for him. “She is afraid. I tell her that if we stand with the truth, there will be hurdles coming our way. We haven’t done anything wrong, we have only served the people,” he said.


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