“Cops put a gun to my head, ‘don’t move or we will shoot you”: JNU Student Who Left ABVP for Dalit Movement
Pradeep Narwal's car was stopped by policemen in three civilian vehicles, a gun placed on his head, and he was taken into the other car.
October 20, 2017
It was a terrifying return journey for former Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad student Pradeep Narwal from a Bhim Army meeting in Faridabad on October 15.His car was stopped at the Delhi-Faridabad border, he said, by policemen in three civilian vehicles, a gun placed on his head, and he was taken into the other car.
Narwal, a student of Jawaharlal Nehru University, after the assault on students including then JNU Students President Kanhaiya Kumar, and Umar Khalid and others on charges of raising anti-national slogans, and organising a pro-Kashmir meeting on the campus. He had issued a statement questioning the targeting of students on the basis of fake videos and claims, and resigned from the ABVP in protest.
Narwal told The Citizen that he went through a four and a half hour ordeal from 2pm when he was stopped at the border. He said the cops pulled him out, put a gun to his head shouting, ‘don’t move or we will shoot you.’ After that he was driven around, for a police station in Noida, to a dhaba in Muradnagar off Ghaziabad, and was abused and threatened by the cops all the while. Narwal said that he was interrogated and threatened all the while, with questions about his links with the Bhim Army. He said that he had helped the activists with legal support and was not a member.
Incidentally, Bhim Army members, including leader Chandrashekhar remain in jail with the government working to crush this organisation that had prevented the Dalits from reacting to false rumours intended to create a communal incident in Saharanpur in western UP. Most of their members are in jail, and as Narwal’s narrative indicates, the supporters of the organisation are also under watch.
Narwal said that he was allowed to leave close to 7pm “as the police seemed to be satisfied that I was not a member of the organisation.” He had two others with him in his car who do not want to be identified but were not questioned in the same manner by the cops. Narwal said that there were at least 16 police men around him at one point in time. He said that they were from the Delhi Police.
Narwal said that the cops said that they would do an encounter on him. Asked if he was scared he said, “ No more than I have been since I left the ABVP and have been threatened, and abused.” He said that in these past 18 months or so he was experiencing the world from an entirely different perspective. More so after he started working with the Dalit movement.
“Earlier while with the ABVP I was the more privileged clearly, and now there is a FIR against me as well as a Proctorial enquiry”, Narwal said. “I thought that the system was clean and easy, now I realise it is actually based from the inside. Look at this incident, if I had been a Muslim they would have killed me,” he added.
Narwal said that he had never paid any attention to encounters as an ABVP member, but just thought that the police had truth on their side, and such encounters were necessary to control the law and order situation. “But now I know that encounters are fake, and a weapon to victimise and control the marginalised sections,” he added.
“I have seen and experienced a lot in these months,” Narwal said, determined to continue his campaign for Dalit rights and justice.
First published in The Citizen.
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