Mumbai

Police assaulted us, allege arrested Aarey protesters

In search of justice: The group of protesters, who were arrested by the Aarey police last week, interact with journalists at a press meet at Mumbai Press Club on Thursday.

In search of justice: The group of protesters, who were arrested by the Aarey police last week, interact with journalists at a press meet at Mumbai Press Club on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

Group demands action against errant officers, plans to move high court to seek quashing of FIR

The 29 protesters, who were arrested by the Aarey police last week, have alleged they were assaulted by officers after being taken into custody on the night of October 4. The protesters shared their version of events at a press meet held at Mumbai Press Club on Thursday.

The protesters claimed the police manhandled them when they arrived to protest the cutting of trees at the site of the Metro 3 car shed.

Kapil Agarwal, a law student at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, said, “We rushed to the site on learning that trees were being felled. We asked the police to produce the permission letter but they didn’t show it to us. All of us then began singing songs about environment and staged a peaceful protest. Within minutes, the police lathicharged us and forced us to leave. All four exits had been barricaded and they pushed us towards the police van when we came out of the site.” Mr. Agarwal said the police still do not have an explanation for arresting only them when over 150 protesters were detained that night.

Aditya Pawar, a filmmaker, said, “We were taken to Aarey police station and told that we would be detained until the next morning. However, we found out that we were being booked for a criminal offence. The police filled out certain forms for us without our knowledge and denied us a chance to speak to our lawyers.”

Several women protesters who were arrested alleged that policemen had assaulted them. Shruti Nair, a protester, said, “I was assaulted by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone XII) D.S. Swami and sustained a bruise on my cheek. We demand an inquiry against the police department for inflicting physical assault and abuse.”

Mr. Swami, however, denied the allegations. He said, “Nothing of the sort happened. None of our officers have assaulted any civilian.”

Rishav Ranjan, a law student from Delhi who came to Mumbai to support the protesters, said he will be filing a petition before the Supreme Court this month. Mr. Ranjan said, “I have written a letter to the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited to stop construction on the site till the Supreme Court hears the matter. We plan to move the Bombay High Court to seek quashing of the FIR against the protesters.”

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 3:57:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/police-assaulted-us-allege-arrested-aarey-protesters/article29650548.ece

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