Friday, December 31, 2010

Vimla, Varanasi - Molestation+Physical Abuse=Forceful Eviction=Blatant Violation of Human Rights

It is an open secret that police in Uttar Pradesh often tend to be on the payroll of 3 Ms - Money, Muscle and Mafia. It is this unholy association which results in atrocities like that faced by the entire community of poor craftsmen and labourers of Dharkar Basti, Varanasi District.
     The shameful acts of local police came to light when 40-year old Vimla, a native of Basti, dared to come forward and speak to us. According to Vimla, her family and many others like her had been staying in Hukulganj Dharkar Basti for more than five generations. Never were they asked to vacate the place.
     Life was going smooth until one night, the calm was shattered by police sirens heralding the arrival of police raids and abuse. A group of policemen headed by the local station head officer attacked and started beating young and old, women and children, even pregnant women were not spared. The entire family of Vimla, including her daughter, sons, daughter-in-laws, grandsons and granddaughters were mercilessly beaten and summarily asked to vacate the property.
     The cops were all in an inebriated state, they even set a few huts on fire, endangering dozens of lives. 60-year-old woman Lachi was beaten up badly. 8-month pregnant Rekha was kicked about on her stomach. Lives were only saved after people ran to nearby localities for cover.
     Vimla says no prior notice was given to them. It was a direct attack under cover of night, probably after the hands of the cops were greased by some local heavyweights. When the people dared to ask the reason for the raid, they were further beaten up. Vimla herself was kicked around and abused. The police attempted to rape some women, who just barely managed to escape.
     Recalling the horror of the night, Vimla recalls that she was fast asleep when the attack took place. She was dragged out of bed at gun point. The policemen claimed they were from the Cantt Police Station.  The station officer was accompanied by more than 50 policemen.
     Vimla and many others like her have gotten no justice till date. Policemen have gotten scot-free and police threats to vacate the land still continues. These families ask that police harrassment should cease, otherwise, they should be properly relocated and rehabilitated in some secure and decent place.

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