Unsympathetic and Insensitive Behaviour of Officials Led to Moradabad Violence

Left: Nawabpura area where stone-pelting occurred
Right: Heart patient Subhan and his 10 years old daughter beaten by lathis by police

By Affan Moradabadi

Stone pelting at police and medical team in Moradabad must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. However, the causes that led to this sad incident should not be ignored as well. Every Indian is aware of how rough the Indian police is, and this is no secret either that when it comes to Muslims, it knows no limits in excesses. But what to talk of police, sadly, the majority of Indian officials, in any department, have a tendency of behaving like the viceroy in British Raj and treating the general public as subjects.

Let us also not ignore the misunderstandings that prevail, both among Muslims as well as non-Muslims, about the so-called quarantines to which suspected or confirmed patients are taken and locked up like criminals.

In these quarantines they are not even allowed to keep mobile phones and keep in touch with their families. Present Islamophobic policies of the central and BJP led state governments increase Muslims’ fears manifolds especially when they are hearing the news that taking advantage of the lockdown, police has picked up anti-CAA protesters in Delhi.

The prevailing horrible perceptions about quarantines will continue to create doubts and suspicions in the minds of the public and, if not dealt with in a sensitive manner by the government and officials, will complicate things even further.

The family in Moradabad that has lost a member deserved sympathy and soft handling. Muslim or non-Muslim, every citizen, including the police and medical staff deserve respect. But respect is a two-way process. There is an urgent need to create a positive image of the quarantines where mobile phones must be allowed so that patients can update their relatives and friends about the conditions in which they are being kept. Without this, fear and suspicion will continue to prevail making the situation more explosive and uncontrollable.  Please read the following piece with an open mind before rushing to judgement—UMM.

Moradabad: When, following the death of a man [reportedly of Corona], police and a medical team reached the house of the deceased in Nawabpura area of the city, the residents of the neighbourhood asked the medical team why they had kept the family uninformed for one day about the cause of the death and why they had not been told that the man had died of Corona. But without giving an explanation the police tried to take family members of the deceased forcefully to the quarantine.

The deceased’s family has young girls as well. So, the neighbourhood residents were naturally worried about their safety and wellbeing and requested the police to take their samples to check if they too had been infected. If they are found positive, they said, then they could also be taken away to be quarantined. [They could be talked to politely and told that this is not how such cases are dealt with] But instead of trying to take them in confidence and without giving some good explanation the police and the medical team responded in a manner typical of Indian police: harsh, cruel and insulting. The residents then requested to be given some time for consultation with community elders.

But the medical team started misbehaving and warned the family members to go with them willingly or they would be taken by force and imprisoned. This sparked a heated argument that turned into stone-pelting in which a doctor got injured. [Let there be no doubt that violence against police and medical team cannot and MUST not be justified and defended—UMM]

Obviously, as could be imagined, this provided the media yet another spicy story. The misreporting of migrant workers gathering at the railway station at Bandra in Mumbai almost disappeared [as did the violence against police and other frontline staff in other parts of the country, including Bihar]. Sadly the netizens also helped the media by sharing the totally one-sided coverage and forgot about the pain of the victims. The whole neighbourhood has now been turned into a cantonment.

Let us now turn to another story from the same city that no channel or newspaper would report.

This is the story of Subhan, a resident of Mohalla Peerzada, and his ten-years old daughter. Subhan had his heart surgery recently and is unable to lift and carry heavy items nor was he fit enough to stand for long in the queue. So his daughter accompanied him. When their turn came the shopkeeper refused to serve them and asked to come back the next day.

Disappointed and dejected Subhan and his daughter started walking towards their home. But while returning back two constables from Katghar Police Station beat them blue and black with lathis. Bruises on their bodies are still visible clearly.

The first photograph is of Nawabpura area where stone pelting occurred while the second photograph is of helpless father and his daughter.

The problem in our country is that anyone who gets some power he often misuses it and doctors are no exception to it. They know theirs is the last word and only what they say would matter.

Some naïve members of our community and some of the maulanas are demanding stern punishment for the victims who, in their view, are the perpetrators.

Why on earth are you desperate to outdo everyone in condemning the victims and demanding stern action against them?  Whether you demand it or not, they will be punished anyway. This doesn’t matter if they have lost their father and got thrashed by the police too.

Translated by Urdu Media from Affan Moradabadi’s FB wall

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