Holding her daughter tightly in her lap, Anjum of Tanda cannot forget the night of March 3, when she had to spend an entire night in hiding, to save herself from a mob baying for her blood to avenge the death of a local leader. When she returned home, none of her belongings were left.
In another case, Bhonu of Varanasi had to spend twenty-six months in jail for a murder he did not commit, all because he was poor and illiterate.
Anjum and Bhonu are just a couple of examples of torture victims, who have to go through atrocities for no fault of their own. Several such sufferers came on one platform for a programme organised by People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on Wednesday. Narrating their tales of woes, the victims explained threadbare how gullible people are trapped in false cases and subjected to torture.
“There was a murder in my locality Aliganj in Tanda district but how was I or my family related to it? The mob conducted loot inside my house in the night while I was scampering for safety. Cops chose to stay away until morning. Those who should protect us, were not seen during the entire loot,” said Anjum, who stayed underneath a tin shade behind some sacks to hide herself and her children when the mob set ablaze several houses in the locality.
Says Niaz Ahmad of Tanda, “Communal tension never allowed me to live peacefully. My children too could never attend school regularly.”
Bhonu says all his life’s savings, which he had collected while working in a band, along with household objects were sold off to fight his case. “Cops beat me up for the entire night and booked me in a case that I was not even aware of. Though my innocence was proved in the court, all my money and my wife’s jewellery was gone by then,” says Bhonu.
At the event, several other people narrated their ordeal before the panel of experts, including first counselor of European Union, Dr Hans Van Villet, chairperson of Shram Salahkar Samiti, Vidyawati Rajbhar and national secretary Rastriya Lok Dal, Anil Dubey.
Commenting upon atrocities on the suppressed class, Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi of PVCHR said, “Committing atrocities on suppressed people has turned into a practice of sorts. Therefore, the mindset of people, especially those in decisive posts, needs to be changed.”
Other experts addressing the meeting included Prof Ramesh Dixit, Shruti Nagvanshi, Shabana Khan and Anoop Srivastava. They demanded that the bill against torture should be implemented so that cases of police atrocity can be checked.