Apart from the fact that they are all students of the University of Hyderabad, Amol Singh, Deepak Sudevan and Rajat Thakur have another thing in common: they were prison buddies for five days, after they were jailed by the police along with 24 others.
But the time spent in prison was the better part of the week, after they were arrested. Amol, Deepak and Rajat said on Wednesday that they were brutally assaulted in the van while being taken to the police station on March 22.
“After removing their badges, the cops, three or four of them, took turns to beat up each one of us, picked up from the Vice-Chancellor’s lawn last Tuesday,” recalled Amol, a student from the Political Science department. Recalling the ordeal, Amol said he was with 17 others in a police van after being picked up, while nine others were detained separately.
Terming the night of their arrest as ‘torture room on wheels’, he said: “Deepak was shooting a video of the cops beating up the students using his phone, which is why he was picked up. His device has still not been returned to him,” said Amol. Both Amol and Deepak said that the policemen in the van had specifically targeted those with Muslim names, and had beaten them more than the others. “They were abusing us and telling us to go to Pakistan for eating beef. The policemen even spoke ill about Rohith Vemula,” said Amol.
The trio stated that they had been taken to the Miyapur police station first last Tuesday after being picked up, then to the Balanagar PS, and finally to the judicial magistrate’s house in Tarnaka on Wednesday night. “We were abducted, as no one was informed about our whereabouts. Some faculty members who had come searching for us at the Miyapur police station saw us,” said Deepak.
All 27 of the accused finally met at the Kondapur Government Hospital on Wednesday, where they were taken for medical examination. It was here that Prof. K. Y. Ratnam’s blood pressure was found to be over 200, said Amol. “We were also asked to sign the arrest document by the Gachibowli police inspector, without reading it,” alleged Deepak. All three of them said that they were not allowed to speak to the magistrate, when they were taken to her house, after which they were taken to the Cherlapally jail. Reaching prison turned to be a boon for all of them, where they even attended classes conducted by a professor.
Among the other batch of nine who were picked up was Munsif, a student from the communication department. While their ordeal was the same as Amol and Deepak’s, Munsif’s group was shown some kindness by a constable from the Chandanagar police station.
“He have us his mobile to send a message of our whereabouts. But another cop had seen it, and we were shifted to another station within 30 minutes, and the guy who helped us was abused,” recalled Munsif.