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Co-Written by Haider Ali and Zeeshan Ali

New Delhi: Sartaj (40), a resident of North Delhi’s Mustafabad, was arrsted on the grounds of suspicion by the police. The police had been hunting for a man called Sartaj in cases of murder, dacoity and prostitution. However, for weeks their investigation had not yielded any result and then an informant nudged them in the direction of Mustafabad based Sartaj. The actual accused was a namesake and hailed from Sahaspur area. They hauled the wrong Sartaj to the Paschim Vihar Police Station area and brutalized him for 12 hours in Jail.They did everything from electrocution to third degree in order to coerce a false confession out of him.

His is a single story out of a pile. There are several more examples of such perperated police torture on flimsy or downright false grounds.Either it is for accreting professional advantage or under the pressure of some political overlords. The victims are terrorized to such an extent that many of them lose their mental coherence and often choose a path of crime and drugs.

“I could have joined any gang or myriad criminal groups within 24 hours of my release.It was only for the sake of my kid brother and sister that I did not opt for that path. Also, it would have confirmed the doubts of police and society at large that had already declared me guilty without any trial,” added Sartaj.

The lives of such victims are ruined irreparably because they are forever reduced to live under scrutiny and immense suspicionand are branded as criminals for their entire lives.

Irshad Ali (43), a resident of north-west Delhi’s Inder Enclave, is another one who was accused under suspicion of terror links and jailed for a period of 4 years. He fought to gain acquittal for 11 years.He came within the police crosshairs as he used to visit his younger sibling Naushad in Jail. Naushad had already been incarcerated on the grounds of terrorism. 1996, the police apprehended Irshad and his father and ASP Rajbir Singh put them in custody. They were traumatized and falsely accused of being in collusion with terror outfits.

On the plea of Irshad’s mother the court ordered their release. However, soon afterward, CBI took Irshad in custody again for eight days. He was harrassed and asked to become a police informant.

“In 2001 I and my two friends were put in jail by Intelligence Bureau for 3 days custody. They propositioned us to become their informants. The police said either we take that deal or languish in the jail for your entire life. I was petrified for my life and so become an informant for a pay of rs 7000 per month. They asked me to do some unconscienable things like encouragimg Muslim youth to go across the borders. They wanted to tag them as terrorists on their return back to the country. I could not agree to such immoral perpetrations and so they threw me into Tihar jail,” Irshad claims.

After CBI investigation in 2009, Irshad was aquitted by the court. During his ordeal away from his home, he lost his parents and a young daughter. He was the sole bread earner of the family and his absence devastated it. His wife worked in others’ houses in order to save her crumbling home and kids.

Police have the raison d’etre to serve and protect the citizens. Every citizen’s first port of call in any trouble is police. But the ubiquity and frequency of the stories like those of Sartaj and Irshad have eroded trust in the institutuion.The atrocities committed by police either for professional gains or political patronage can never be allowed to continure to wreak havoc on the defenseless. The need of the hour is to clamp down any such gross excesses and prevent their repetition. Only then we will be able to restore public trust in the hallowed administrative and policing institutions.

Haider Ali is a Delhi based journalist and student of Masters in Journalism. his keen interest lies in Crime, Social issues and Education and Human Rights Issues. haiderali885@gmail.com

Zeeshan Ali is currently pursuing Masters in Journalism and has passionate interest in sports, science, literature, and theology. He values honesty and sincerity in any piece of work either his or otherwise. roonation999@gmail.com

2 Comments

  1. Sad state of affairs