Dalit youth arrested for Ambedkar statue desecration, Dalits
Kanpur, Dec 01: A Dalit youth was arrested on Friday for the desecration of B R Ambedkar’s statue in Kanpur. Arun Valmiki was arrested by the UP Police, while two others were interrogated.
Valmiki in his confession to the Police said that he affronted the statue under the influence of alcohol and it wasn’t done on purpose. Dalits , however, refused to buy Police’s version of the story saying that Valmiki made the confession under duress.
Dr Tanveer Ansari, one of the main accused in the Mumbai train blast case — a man whose ‘confessions’ police claim have helped them get key conspirators — has written a letter to the MCOCA court listing the methods used by the police to make him ‘talk’. Ansari alleges that ATS chief K P Raghuvanshi told him bluntly that the police knew he had no role in the blasts and then told him to lie to strengthen their case.
Dr. Ansari also alleges that another officer tried to bribe him: saying he would be paid and taken care of if he memorised a statement that indicted him and stuck to it in court. Part of this happened in the presence of police commissioner A N Roy, says Ansari. Ansari’s letter was submitted to the MCOCA court on November 3. It is now part of court record, which means that the police will have to respond to it at the time of trial.
Excerpts from Ansari’s letter, which was written in English:
When they realised that their harassment didn’t affect me anymore, DCP (ATS) Naval Bajaj offered that if I co-operate, I would be paid and taken care of in the future. He added that if I refuse, they would torture and implicate my family in the blasts case.
I was taken to the ATS head office and produced before Commissioner A N Roy and Joint Commissioner (ATS) K P Raghuvanshi. They told me, “Doctor, we know you are innocent and have no connection with these blasts… But until we find the main accused, we’ll have to keep you in custody.”
On October 1, I was taken to Raghuvanshi’s office, where he agreed that I didn’t have anything to do with the blasts, but asked for my co-operation. He said he would pay for the damage done.
He then told me, “Doctor, hamaare liye jhoot bol do (Lie for us),” and proposed that I become an approver. I was forced to sign papers in the DCP Zone-1 (preventive) office, which I later came to know was my confession. When I was produced before the magistrate on October 9, I denied it.
On July 20, crime branch unit 2 officers took me from my hospital for enquiry. They realised that the Kurla police had arrested me in September 2001 for connections with SIMI.
I also told them that in May 2004, I had visited Iran. Then in Marathi, the officers told each other that he is the right candidate to be booked in the blasts case.
In the first remand sheet, police forced me to sign papers written in Hindi and Marathi, which they never allowed me to read. ATS gave me a few papers, asked me to memorise it, and told me that if I co-operated, I would be released soon.
When I refused, they made me stand through the night, without allowing me any food. When I was exhausted, I memorised some of it and gave an audio-video recording of it.
Dalits, which account for about 16% of the Maharashtra state’s nearly 10-crore population, were once a major political force. Today, they are a rudderless lot due to a bitter rivalry among a bunch of egoistic leaders.
Meanwhile in Maharashtra three people were killed in Maharashtra on Thursday when thousands of Dalits attacked police, torched trains and forced shops to shut after the desecration of a statue of their iconic leader.
The violence flared across several towns in the state and its capital, Mumbai, with protesters blocking traffic and stoning and burning buses.
State authorities played down the violence, calling the rioting "sporadic incidents".
"Some people have reacted to the statue desecration episode, but now the situation is okay and people are cooperating," R.R. Patil, Maharashtra deputy Chief Minister, told reporters.
Groups of protesters armed with bamboo sticks and stones roamed the streets of several towns across Maharashtra.
One person was killed when police opened fire to disperse a violent mob in Osmanabad town.
"Two other people were killed in related violence," P.S. Pasricha, Maharashtra's police chief, told a news conference. "We have made 1,500 preventive arrests across the state." In Mumbai, huge groups carrying posters and banners were seen closing shops and clashing with police in several areas of the city. They also tried to stop suburban trains. Witnesses said police used batons and fired tear gas shells to disperse unruly mobs in the city's Worli, Bandra and Chembur neighbourhoods, where some schools were closed. Police denied the reports but added "several" people had been arrested. Curfews were imposed in some towns.