Cops accused of arresting ‘innocent’ minors during farmers’ protest in Madhya Pradesh

Family members and some of the victims of police action told HT that some other minors were arrested even though they were watching the protest from their house.

bhopal Updated: Jun 16, 2017 15:58 IST
Shruti Tomar
Shruti Tomar
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
farmers protest,Bhopal,Madhya Pradesh
Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia interacts with an injured woman farmer Kamla Bai who was allegedly beaten up by police during farmers’ agitation in Phanda near Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday.(PTI FILE PHOTO)

In their zeal to crack down on protesters against farmers’ death in Mandsaur, the police have allegedly thrashed and booked half a dozen minors even though they were just watching the protests that took place in Phanda, near Bhopal on June 9.

Family members and some of the victims of police action told HT that some other minors were arrested even though they were watching the protest from their house. All of them have been booked under the Section 151 of CrPC and 147 and 148 of IPC.

Navi Pathariya* (17) had called his friend Ravish Mewada* (17), who is pursuing BSc, to seek his advice for getting admission in a college as his father was suffering from cancer and he couldn’t go outside.

They were sitting together at Navi’s house. Suddenly, they heard a lot of noise and when they came out, saw people and police running helter skelter.

80-yr-old woman demands justice
  • Even after seven days of protest, Kamla Bai Mewada, 80, is not stable. A resident of Phanda, her hand was fractured after police dragged and beat her up on June 9 for allegedly giving shelter to protesters.
  • Kamla Bai’s four grandsons and a son were arrested by police when they came to save her.
  • She said when police tried to disperse protesters, many ran away towards the field where she lived with her family. She was just sitting outside her house. The police entered her house and beat her up and her family members.
  • The 80-year-old wants justice as the police beat her and family members for no fault of theirs.
  • However, SP Bhopal (north) Arvind Saxena maintained that Kamla Bai too was involved in the protest and that she was lying about her hand getting fractured.

They realised that a protest was on from the pungent smell in the air and their eyes were burning. Both of them rushed inside the house. Suddenly, police started knocking the door and also tried to break the door.

Navi and Ravish said they didn’t do anything, but the policeman asked the boys to come out if they were innocent. They opened the door and came out, and the police arrested and sent them to jail.

Navi and Ravish told police that they were just 17 years old and didn’t do anything, but police didn’t listen to them. They came out on bail on Thursday.

Navi told HT that he had pleaded innocence with the police. “I don’t go out as my father is suffering from cancer and I can’t leave him alone. Even my father Gulab Singh touched the feet of a policeman, but he started beating me up.”

“I am shattered. I don’t know what will happen to my future,” said Navi.

Ravish said he was planning to join a coaching class for preparation for competitive exam for a government job, but the criminal case against him has made him ineligible.

Kapil* and Ranjit* of Kodiya village, who were also arrested, are class 11 students and the experience has left them in such a trauma that they don’t want to continue their studies.

“On June 9, Kapil and Ranjit had gone to catch a bus to Bhopal to get details about a coaching institute for IIT JEE. They came to know about the protest near Phanda. Instead of returning to the village, they stayed at Phanda to see the protest. Suddenly police came and arrested them,” said Shubham Mewada, brother of Kapil

“Even when they told police that they were just 16 years old, the police wrote their ages as 19 and 20 in the FIR. They were bailed on Thursday but still they are in trauma,” he said.

Not only locals, commuters too were arrested.

Akash Chaurasiya*, 22, a resident of Bhopal is cursing June 9, the day he asked his 16-year-old brother Vishal Chaurasiya*, who left his education after class 10, to learn working as a mason so that he could earn a livelihood in future.

“I asked my brother to come to see my work at a construction site in Sehore on June 9. He was coming with one my friends through the highway connecting Bhopal-Indore. But police arrested them in between. My brother is still in jail and crying all the time,” said Akash.

There are many villagers who claimed that they had gone outside for doing routine work, but police arrested them.

Superintendent of police, north Bhopal, Arvind Saxena said, “Police have arrested only the accused. On June 9, youngsters and villagers had pelted stone on police at least 10 times. We have ample proof against everybody. We have videos.”

“The condition was out of control and to maintain law and order and to avoid any untoward incident, we caned and arrested people,” he said.

(Names of minors have been changed.)

First Published: Jun 16, 2017 15:52 IST