CAA protests: women allege assault by police in Govandi

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A group of women who had gathered at Govandi to protest the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) alleged that they were assaulted and illegally detained on Sunday night.

According to local residents, around 70 women gathered at a corner of the service road near the Shivaji Nagar signal around 8.30 p.m. to protest. Shortly thereafter, personnel from Shivaji Nagar and Deonar police stations reached the spot and allegedly surrounded them with their vehicles.

Dr. Pooja Chinchole, a protester, said they started shining their torches and speaking rudely to the women before female police personnel reached the scene. When the protesters started raising slogans, the police allegedly started roughing them up.

“Eight to nine policewomen caught hold of me and dragged me by my hair and hands into the police vehicle. When I tried raising slogans through the windows, they clamped a hand over my mouth and slapped me. Six of us, five women and a 12-year-old boy, were taken to the police station. One of the women is 65 years old,” she told The Hindu.

Dr. Chinchole said the police kept saying that the 12-year-old boy had come with them on his own even after the child, in front of everyone, said he had been brought by force. “We insisted that they call the boy’s guardians and the police said they would drop him home. While the boy was insisting they call his parents, they took him away. They then put us in a vehicle and started driving towards Vikhroli but they were blocked by around 1,500 people, after which they turned back. Senior officers had reached the scene by then,” she said.

‘False claims’

She said the five detainees were released soon after and the protesters decided to continue their agitation at Ambedkar Garden, as they had earlier got permission to do so. However, the police started telling everyone to leave, claiming permission had been granted for a protest on Tuesday.

“There is a separate rally by the Samajwadi Party and Hum Bharat Ke Log on Tuesday. Since we knew the police were lying, 15 of us stayed back. We were detained again and released a short while later. I have injured my kneecap. Another one of us, Ulfat Chaudhari, who only has one kidney, has a swollen leg and high fever,” Dr. Chinchole said, adding that all of the injured had undergone medical check-ups.

Additional Commissioner of Police (East) Lakhmi Gautam said there was no use of excessive force by the police. “Some people were trying to sit in at a public place on a busy road. They were not listening to us, and hence they were brought to the police station and released after a warning,” he said.

Mr. Gautam also denied claims of the 12-year-old boy being taken to the police station. “I have seen the pictures that were circulating and this is not true. There was no lathi charge and no arrests have been made. We also do not have any information about anyone being injured,” he said.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 4:07:17 PM |

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