Picked up and beaten by cops, 4 still missing
For Gopal, 40, being poor and homeless was his only crime. The daily wage labourer was picked up from a night shelter for the homeless on Saturday night while an engagement party was underway outside.delhi Updated: Jan 16, 2011 23:47 IST
For Gopal, 40, being poor and homeless was his only crime. The daily wage labourer was picked up from a night shelter for the homeless on Saturday night while an engagement party was underway outside.
According to the families living in the shelter, officers from the Delhi Police crime branch arrived at the night shelter at 8.30pm and picked up six men.
"They claimed they were from the crime branch and came with four cars. They also had pistols, which they pointed at our children. They beat up everyone at the shelter," said Sharda, Gopal's wife.
Naseer Ahmed, who manages the night shelter, was also picked up but only says that he was taken to a police station where he was beaten up.
He was then taken to Gurgaon where the policemen picked up other homeless from the streets.
"They wanted us to confess to theft and pick-pocketing that we never committed. I was finally dumped at a petrol pump near the shelter," said Ahmad.
While two men, including Ahmad have returned, the other four have still not been found. The other man, Ram Prasad, 18, left for his village - Champaner, Gujarat - as soon as he was released.
Police meanwhile claimed that the men that they had picked up were proclaimed offenders and were wanted in many cases.
"We arrested them on the basis of specific information that they have evaded arrest in several criminal cases. Three of them are proclaimed offenders," said Ashok Chand, DCP, crime branch.
But the families of the men claimed that the police is lying. "Out of the six people they picked up, one was a 16-year-old and lived in Faridabad. He had come here only for the engagement. How can he be a proclaimed offender?" asked Nandan, who was nursing a black eye that he said the police had given him.
Four men, Babu, Ram Singh, Ram Chander and Subhash have still not returned. Officials of Ashray Adhikar Abhiyan, (AAA) an NGO that was managing the night shelter said that they had been unable to trace the four men despite going to various police stations and speaking to many officials.
According to Sanjay Kumar, member, AAA, some men were also picked up from the night shelters at Pul Mandi and Kashmere Gate.
"The poor and the homeless are paying a price as they are soft targets. This is not the first time that the homeless have been rounded up and beaten. Every year, before Republic Day or Independence Day, they are harassed like this," he said.