Did Delhi Police Attempt to Sexually Assault Peaceful CAA Protestors in February?

Social Commentary

Did Delhi Police Attempt to Sexually Assault Peaceful CAA Protestors in February?

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

The national capital witnessed riots in February after a crackdown on Citizenship Amendment Act protestors. In the violence that followed, at least 53 people died and over 200 were injured. In a new development, the National Federation of Indian Women has alleged that the Delhi Police assaulted 45 women and men during an anti-CAA protest on February 10.

In a press release, the federation laid out the various details of the incident that took place when students of Jamia Millia Islamia University were carrying out a peaceful march to Parliament House. “We were able to find out about 15 women and 30 men being assaulted in their private parts. Women were molested by the male policemen, who attempted to tear their clothes, punched their breasts or stomped on them with their boots, as well as tried to insert their batons into the vaginas.”

“Along with women, we also came across men who suffered injuries in their sexual organs,” the organisation said. “The sexual assault on men was equally severe. The attack on groin and rectum resulted in severe injuries. The heinous and common feature of the attacks on both the genders was an attempted demonstration of the unlimited power of the police over the protestors,” the release stated.

NFIW states that these details were based on testimonies given by survivors, their spokespersons, medical practitioners, legal and medical advisors.

Some reporters who were on ground on February 10 claimed that there was no lathi charge but police did use force on the first line of protestors. “Female students say they’ve been punched, kicked, beaten by lathis from below,” tweeted Zeba Warsi.

The report also alleged that the police used chemicals that led to immobility, drowsiness, choking, and muscle pain. The police denied using any chemical gas on the students. The report states that, “They claimed it to be mosquito fumigation spray that had drifted to the barricades from Holy Family Hospital. That claim is totally false as the hospital in question was nearly a kilometre away from the barricades.”

A Reuters reporter on the ground on February 10, claimed he had not seen any use of chemical substances and that the “police was more restrained than I’ve seen in the past.”

The NFIW also narrated an incident in the release, where around 30 boys were packed in a bus for protesting, and then beaten for approximately 40 minutes. The federation alleged that the boys were constantly beaten in the bus and their groins kicked with boots.

The federation has asked the government to institute a special judicial inquiry “to investigate the heinous nature of the crimes perpetrated by men in uniform. Apart from retired judges, we would also like a team of doctors to investigate and submit a public report on the use of chemicals on the protestors, and the nature of injuries of the survivors.” Compensation has also been demanded for the victims of the assault.