As a son of a retired police officer, I remember the day of our arrest and police brutality as a serious human rights violation.
I was one among the 25 arrested and jailed students.
On that day, police were dragging and beating peacefully protesting students without any provocation. They threatened girl students with rape. I was taken to the police van when I questioned why they were dragging our professor Dr KY Ratnam.
I was made to sit in the first row of the seat and one policeman came to me slapped on my face saying “Oh , are you a Muslim?”, by seeing my beard without a moustache.
I was shocked for a moment because it all happened in a minute. I did not respond to his question; he started hitting my neck and back with fists and elbow.
They started the van after 5 minutes and I was shifted to the second row of two seats. When the van reached Gobs (a shopping complex inside University of Hyderabad) the van suddenly stopped.
One policeman standing near the door caught a student taking a video of the police van; he was also dragged and pushed into the police van, his phone was snatched and he was slapped mercilessly.
“If you’re so intent on taking a video, why don’t you strip your mother and sister and take a video,” shouted a policeman in Hindi.
I thought they might detain us for some hours.The van was moving towards Lingampally then three policemen started hitting us, spewing abuses.
I was surprised when one of them came to me and attacked me, saying “You eat beef and you conduct beef festival.”
For a moment, I thought of my grandmother who told me when I was studying in the seventh standard that, “We parayas don’t eat buffalo meat , we only eat cow meat.”
The policeman also hit a Muslim friend of mine and said, “You conduct candle vigil for Afzal Guru.”
One policeman slapped professor Ratnam and abused him when the professor asked them to refrain from hitting his students. “What are you teaching these people, you a**h***?,” one policeman barked.
“You are anti-national, you all should be killed mercilessly, you people are wasting public money, soldiers in borders are dying for you and you people are doing anti-national activities in the campuses, you all should be killed in encounter”, were some of the choicest abuses hurled at us.
“Why are you doing this when you are getting many sexy girls in the university? You should enjoy and study and go, you should not do protests.”
They asked for our mobile phones, we gave it without protest.
When the van reached Lingampally railway station, they stopped and bought some water for us and told us drink.
While we drinking water, one policeman asked me, “Where are you coming from?”
I answered him I am from Kerala, and got another round of thrashing. “Why you a**h***s are coming from there are doing all these things? You should come and study and go,” the man told me. A friend was punched in his face and stamped on by boots.
When another friend said he is disabled, he was thrashed brutally.
They beat all of us until the van reached Miyapur Police Station around 7pm. There were three sub-inspectors and six policemen inside the van and weren’t wearing any nameplates.
In Miyapur police station, we were made to sit in chairs in a room and they started searching the bags.
In one bag from a Muslim student, they got a book named “Secularising Islamists” written by Humeira Iqtidar. This angered the policeman and he slapped the Muslim student, shouting “Oh, you are reading these types of Books!”
Until the next noon, we were kept from informing our family, friends and lawyers.
They shifted us to Balanagar police station because by morning, some faculty members came to Miyapur police station to meet us.
In Balanagar police station, our details were taken, including caste name.
“Your human rights have been suspended from now and whenever any problem happens in the university, you 18 will be arrested,” the sub-inspector told us.
In the 25th hour of custody, we were taken to Kondapur Area Hospital for getting medical certificate to produce before the magistrate.
In the hospital when we complained that we were beaten badly he just smiled and told “ok”.
There, we met the other nine who were detained by police from the university.
Most of their clothes were torn and they looked very tired.
When we said that we have to read the arrest card and other documents while being forced to sign documents around 10 pm in front of general public and hospital staff, the circle inspector said, “This is not a question answer session. You have to obey what we will say, if you are not signing you will not get bail.”