Below is an Indian Express report on a communally charged police attack
on the Bengali refugees in the NOIDA township, adjoining Delhi and part
of the National Capital Region. Read with the fact that this summer two
'summer fires' also chose to devastate the large slum settlements of the
poor, dominantly Bengali refugees, in Yamuna Pushta and other areas of
Delhi. It is an indication of the actions and inaction of the ruling 'care
taker' BJP government with regard to this section of people. The report
tells its own story.
For a secular and democratic south Asia
They came in groups of 4-5, they whipped us like cattle
NOIDA, May 23: Midnight, a jhuggi in Sector 10: The only sounds inside
Suleman's small tenement are that of his sleeping family and a slowly
whirring table fan. In a split-second, the peace is shattered when somebody
breaks down his door. A man's deafening voice orders the family to get
out. Other intruders barge into the small space. The sleep-drugged family
struggle to find their feet. In the streetlight, Suleman, 57, realises
that the midnight intruders are local cops. It must be a mistake, he
Two hundred others like Suleman, all residents of a jhuggi cluster sitting
at the juncture of Sector 8, 9 and 10 realised last night that it was
no mistake. They were bundled into police vehicles and packed off to
the Sector 20 police station. Seventy-seven Bangladeshi women and 38
men were booked on charge of staying in India without immigration papers.
Children of the jailed `aliens', 130 in number, were also made to join
This is the second time since Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP)
Anand Kumar took over as the district police chief on April 12 that
alleged Bangladeshis have been arrested in such a large number. Mid-April,
87 persons were booked on the same charge.
When contacted, the police chief said that this exercise was a part
of a long-term strategy. "We have noticed that these Bangladeshis
are involved in petty crimes like theft, cheating and drug-peddling.
So we decided to get rid of these Bangladeshis. In the first phase of
the exercise, the Local Intelligence Unit (LIU) collected the information
about the settlement of Bangladeshis. In the second phase we conduct
"These Bangladeshis are working here as domestic helps. A number
of residents of various sectors are approaching us requesting the release
of their domestic help. But they have never approached the police for
police verification of their domestic helps. In case of any untoward
incident, we are the ones who will be blamed," the police chief
says as explanation for the raids.
After last night's ordeal, nobody in the settlement went to work today.
Work is mainly manual labour and household help. They are still in shock.
Says Suleman: "I thought dacoits had struck. They barged in, asked
us to get out, abused us and some of them were drunk. Before we could
understand what they had come for, they started dragging the womenfolk
out of their beds." He sobs and asks, "They claim to be protectors
of the law. Are they not bound by the same law?"
Kumar dismisses all allegations of police atrocities during the operation:
"As their people have been booked, their leaders are levelling
false allegations. We even served them with tea, coffee and and snacks
in the sector 20 police station where they were lodged and interrogated.
And we booked only those who confessed to belong to Bangladesh."
Not many are ready to speak about last night. But the few who are, are
angry. "We are poor labourers. No one is bothered about us. Policemen
regularly collect money from us. Do we pay from our hard-earned money
to be insulted and beaten up? They whipped us like cattle."
Narrating the story, an elderly person, a carpenter by profession, said:
"It was around 1 a.m. All of us were asleep. My son woke me up
and said: 'bapu bhago police pakadne aai hai' (Father run, the police
has come to catch us.) It took me two minutes to understand what was
happening. There were more than 100 policemen. They were raiding the
jhuggis in groups of four or five. The only criterion of picking up
persons was their faith. They just asked our names, and if it sounded
Hindu, spared; if Muslim, nabbed. They just did not try to identify
Bangladeshis among us. They left after their vehicles were packed with
our men. They thrashed our men and dragged our women on the road."
The SSP, meanwhile, said that he was planning more operations of this
kind in the area.