The Price of a Question
- October 28, 2012
- Deccan Chronicle , Bengaluru, Anwar Hussain
The price of a question
I am yet to recuperate from the I trauma I have been through after I innocently asked a question to Chief Minister Raman Singh at a public function at Raipur on October 7. I wonder if I will ever be able to bury the harrowing memories and move on in life.
The traumatic experience of being kicked, slapped, and punched by the cops outside the venue of the meeting and later inside a police station that day still plays in my mind when I retire to bed, giving me shudders in my sleep. The physical and mental agony caused by the police brutality has turned my life into a living hell. I am completely shattered, broken, and devastated now.
Although I am a Congress activist and general secretary of the youth wing of the Raipur Lok Sabha unit of the party, my decision to put forth a question to the chief minister at the farmers’ meet organized by Indira Gandhi Agriculture University had nothing to do with politics. In fact, I attended the event to submit a memorandum to Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, who inaugurated the meet, to bring into focus discrepancies between actual agriculture production in the state and the figures shown by the state government, established by RTI replies. But, Mr Pawar refused to accept the memorandum.
I could not resist the impulse to ask the chief minister to explain the reason behind the anomaly between production of paddy and the actual area under cultivation, when the latter made tall claims on the progress made in the agriculture sector in the state in his speech. I was utterly shocked to find him seething in anger and behaving in a manner on becoming of a chief minister, when I raised the issue armed with necessary documents at the function.
“Daru piker aya hai… ise uthakar le jao…“ (He is drunk… Throw him out…)”, the chief minister ordered the policemen, adding, “Na jane log kaise din mein bhi pite hain (I do not understand how some people consume liquor in the day).
Soon I was whisked away from the venue by policemen and taken to a nearby secluded place where I was beaten mercilessly.
I pleaded them not to hurt me since I am not an anti-social person. I was screaming in pain as the policemen went on raining blows on my face.
Later, I was shoved into a waiting police van. My ordeal did not end there and in fact it dawned on me that it had only begun. One police inspector sitting beside me on the backseat of the van started slapping me while another one grabbed me tightly. When I tried to dodge his punches, he hit me with his elbow on my back, straight into my ribs. I felt nauseous and cried in excruciating pain. I was taken to Tikrapara police station, where I was delivered blows on my stomach and face and kicked like a football by a police inspector. The torture continued for about 15 minutes.
He stopped tormenting me only when I threatened to commit suicide to escape persecution. I was then pushed into the lockup after being stripped of all my clothes barring the underwear.
I got a breather, but only for a few moments. About ten minutes later, a police officer surfaced in the police station. I was produced before him. He looked at me menacingly and asked me who planted me in the crowd to ask uncomfortable questions to the chief minister.
When I tried to convince him that it was not pre-planned, the police officer started smacking me on my ears with his both hands simultaneously for about two to three minutes. He only withdrew when he got tired and slumped onto a chair.
In that condition, I was produced before a local court, which sent me to jail. It was around 3 pm when I was taken to Raipur Central Jail. The jail authorities, however, refused to accept me when I complained that my head was reeling and there was pain in my stomach and back. Following this, I was brought to Raipur District Hospital for a medical checkup.
The hospital, however, referred me to the Ambedkar Medical College and Hospital at Raipur, where an X-ray was done on my back.
I was again taken to jail. The authorities admitted me into the jail hospital at night. The next morning, I was shifted to a prison cell where I had to share the room with hardcore criminals. I spent two days and two nights in jail. During that period, I had a lurking fear of threat to my life. I could hardly take the food given in the jail owing to illness. To my amazement, my fellow jail mates took care of me and their comforting words had a soothing effect on me.
What an irony! Humanity is imprisoned, whereas beastliness is set free.
After my release from jail on a personal bond, my family members admitted me to a private hospital. Medical tests there have confirmed loss of hearing and perforation in my left eardrum. Doctors recommended surgery to repair the damaged eardrum.
I am grateful to the media for highlighting my plight all through the ordeal. It is the media, which helped me the most during the crisis. This was the first time in my eight-year long political career; such inhuman cruelty was meted out to me by the government.
But more than the police torture, the chief minister’s irresponsible remarks, dubbing me a drunkard, did immensely harm my family and me. I am now determined to bring to book all my persecutors, who hurt me physically, mentally and socially. I will not rest till then.
- #SoniSori on hunger strike after being strip-searched in front of other prisoners (kractivist.wordpress.com)
November 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm
BJP does not get tired of saying good governance of Raman Singh. This is the standard of BJP. They win by terrorizing the public under different manner which are or border close to the unconstitutionality.
Very unfortunate. And what congress fellows are doing over the incidence affecting their fellow congress man. Perhaps uncomfortable questions are not encouraged by them also as they are only other side of the same coin and their cronies will very likely behave in the similar manner of Raman Singh when congress is in power.