Women student activists on Monday accused Delhi police of sexual assault during a protest demanding the resignation of Union minister Ajay Mishra and the arrest of his son, Ashish Mishra for Lakhimpur Kheri farmers’ killings.
On Sunday, students of the All India Students Association (AISA), took to the roads marching towards Home minister Amit Shah’s residence demanding action against BJP leaders.
Women activists said to Maktoob they were “groped” humiliated and kicked in private parts after Delhi police detained them.
An activist, Shreya Kapoor, shared the details on Facebook on Monday, triggering outrage.
Following the Facebook post, Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation condemned “in the strongest terms the brazen sexual assault by Delhi Police personnel against women student activists on 10 October.”
“We demand an FIR against the SHO of the Mandir Marg police station and the personnel who carried out the assault,” reads the statement.
While protesting, police manhandled male students. During recording the crackdown, the phone of an activist, Neha Tiwari, was snatched by police.
Neha Tiwari, along with her co-activists Neha Bora and Shreya Kapoor, demanded police to return the phone.
“We were pinched and groped when male police officers dragged us,” says Shreya Kapoor, who was one among the three girls that came to protest.
“A woman police lifted my Kurtha to shame me and I felt the eyes of other male police officers on my body,” Shreya told Maktoob.
After the girls were detained and brought to Mandir Marg police station, women police officers, on the bus, repeatedly stomped the girls on their private parts and legs shouting, “we will show your aukat (place)”.
The girls were kicked till they reached the station and had to cry beggingly to spare them.
“Delhi police have repeatedly taken to shaming and injuring protesting women. They did the same to women during citizenship protests,” Shreya observed.
“In my four years of student activism, never was I this explicitly harassed by police. This time they shamelessly lifted my clothes and stared, stomped, and pinched our private parts,” shared the 22-year-old, Delhi state vice president of AISA.
The girls were denied urgent medications, even after their bodies were swollen. When requested for a Medical checkup, the police threatened to file FIR against them.
After five hours, the girls were released. The activists were admitted briefly to a hospital due to pain.
“The humiliation and pain are monstrously huge, that I have difficulty sleeping,” shared Shreya who is a graduate of Journalism from Delhi University.
The girls will be filing a complaint at the National Women’s Commission.
Shreya K’s full statement posted on Facebook:
I write this from a place of vulnerability and humiliation. The events that transpired today on our bodies are enough to disturb the cool temperament of those who have chosen to sit on the fences against the brutalities of this regime.
Activists from All India Students’ Association (AISA) had decided to take out a protest march in front of Amit Shah’s residence. Our demands were simple. They were demands that have been made by those in this country who still have an iota of civil conscience left in their hearts. We demanded the arrest of the murdered Ashish Mishra for killing farmers in the #LakhimpurKheri massacre and the sacking of his father Ajay Mishra who is the Minister of State for Home Affairs in the present Union cabinet.
The protest started at around 1 PM when 15-17 students, unarmed and peaceful, started the protest with placards and posters. There were no women police officers present at the protest site. The male comrades were brutally manhandled and detained. One of the women comrades who were with me, Neha Tiwari, was video recording the entire incident when police personnel snatched her phone. I, along with Neha ( AISA State Secretary), decided that we would refuse to be detained at any cost until and unless we got Neha’s phone back.
Both of us (me & Neha Tiwari) were first taken to opposite sides of the road and were then dragged onto the road for a good 300-400 meters. The women police personnel on duty first proceeded to lift off my kurta in order to shame me, threw me inside the bus, and then proceeded to kick my private parts repeatedly for 20 minutes. They did the same thing with Neha and repeatedly stomped on her right foot to inflict severe pain.
They only stopped when I started crying profusely due to the immense pain I’d started feeling inside my vagina. The male police personnel were simply standing and watching all of this happen. The women personnel especially targeted clothes as well as private parts in order to induce shame and pain, this tactic has been followed by the Delhi police in other protests as well. We then asked to be taken to a hospital since both I and comrade Neha were in severe pain, there was pain in my private parts and swelling in my left arm.
Neha was also targeted likewise and she had her feet and legs swollen from being beaten up continuously. We were denied the right to seek urgent medical attention given our injuries and were later threatened with repercussions if we dared to file an FIR.
The targeting of women protestors has become an often-used weapon in the toolkit of the Delhi Police. Assertive women are specially targeted to show them their place as was quoted by one of the women police personnel before she went onto target my private parts, “we would show you your aukaat“. We have voice recordings of the entire incident with us if someone would wish to believe us and hear us crying and asking for help.
There are scratches on my clitoris area and it feels like a burning sensation every time I urinate. The roadside lumpen who harasses women is often televised but the state-backed forces such as the police enjoy complete impunity in this regard. They may perpetuate grave and traumatizing violence on the bodies of women and still enjoy the backing of judicial and public institutions.
Students are often asked why they waste taxpayers money but a thoroughly corrupt, brutal police force is seldom asked what it does with the salary that is derived from the pockets of the public, from the many women who pay taxes on the products they buy. Is the police loyal to the people, is it there to maintain law and order for the people, or is it someone else they are paid to protect and uphold. All I can say is, it has done more to safeguard the ruling class, the political elites in power rather than the vulnerable ones in our society whom the police targets to “keep them at their aukaat“.
Nevertheless, we also clearly want to assert that women of this country are not afraid of Amit shah and his puppet police. We’ll not back down till Ajay Mishra resigns and all the Three draconian farm laws are withdrawn.