Published: 17th December 2019
You want Azaadi? Take this: AMU student who needed 16 X-rays after being beaten by UP cops
Shahid said that he was then dragged to a tree and the cops tied him to it, then proceeded to beat him and shame him for being from Kashmir. This is the kind of torture that arrested students faced
When the shelling started, Shahid Hussain was standing on the side of Aligarh Muslim University's Morrison Court. So he ran for cover — ran to his hostel room. Shahid and three of his friends squeezed into a room meant for just two. Then the police came and started banging on their doors, the loud sound echoing over and over again. The petrified students prayed that the police would not be able to open it and that the police couldn't. But they broke open the window and threw in a tear gas shell. And still, the students remained inside.
Then the police threw another shell. And another.
Until it was too much to handle. "We could not take it anymore. We began to suffocate, we were sure that if we stayed inside any longer, we would die. So we opened the door and the minute we opened it, they dragged me out and began to hit me with their lathis," Shahid recalled. The student said the police beat him ruthlessly and then asked him where he was from, "Kashmir, I told them." And so, as if they were not beating him severely already, Shahid said the brutality increased. "You'll know just how bad my injuries are, if I tell you how many X-rays I needed — 16. They took 16 X-rays, except for my head, every other part of my body is in excruciating pain because it's all broken," he tells us, choking on the pain and humiliation of what he underwent on India's darkest day in a while.
The horror of it all: Tied to a tree and asked if he is Pakistani
But the torture didn't stop there. Shahid said that he was then dragged to a tree and the cops tied him to it, "They kept saying, 'Oh you're from Kashmir, you want azaadi?', they also called me Pakistani and all sorts of insults and slurs they could come up with. And as they said these words, they would hit me and slap me." After this, Shahid can't remember too much because he passed out from the pain. The next thing he remembers is being in hospital where several other students were all getting injections. Soon as he got his injection, he was dragged away to the police station. "They did not hit me there, thankfully," he says feebly.
Beyond that point, there was no physical abuse, at least. "There was verbal abuse though. They kept calling us names and insulting us. But they also threatened us. They talked about how the army had treated Rohingyas in Myanmar, they would do the same to us here," he said. The hurt and anger is overarching, "They are just a tool of the BJP, they just wanted to torture us, show all their hate," he added.
'Show people my pictures, let them know what I have been through'
Shahid was released only the next day. Shahid then hands his phone to a friend who tells me that I should ensure that we carry Shahid's pictures along with the story, but they can't send me the picture because the internet blockade continues to be implemented in Aligarh. But they are determined to send me the picture, "My friend is going to Delhi, it will take about an hour and a half. From there, we will send you the picture. Don't forget to carry it," he says. He kept calling a few more times to hold on until the pictures come through. As many as 26 people, including eight students were arrested in connection with the protest at Aligarh Muslim University and surrounding areas and they were released today.
He is not alone. Not in the least
Shahid's case is not the only one. Several students have complained that they were beyond humiliated during their arrest. Though we were unable to verify the news, some people have allegedly said that they were 'forced to drink alcohol. stripped naked and thrashed'. "We have been hearing stories like this. Also heard stories of detained students being forced to say 'Jai Shri Ram' as well," another student said. Some students also posted pictures of the labels on the tear gas shells that were strewn around their campus — several were expired. Expired tear gas shells are sometimes reportedly more toxic as well.
Today, students from AMU and residents of Aligarh are back on the streets but students say that cops are going into even the smallest of 'gallis' to quell the protests. "There are two demands that we have right now, all the forces should be removed and the VC and registrar must resign. We have also submitted a memorandum demanding the same," a student said.
(Name changed to protect identity)