April 24, 2010
April 20, 2010
April 14, 2010
A few weeks back, P.Chidambaram, the home minister, asked Delhi-ites to mend their ways before the Commonwealth Games. “We must behave as citizens of a big, good international city,” he said. Clearly, Delhi Police thought it was not included. Joel Elliott, an award-winning American freelance journalist, working as a staff writer at Caravan magazine in Delhi since May this year, has charged “six to seven hours of beating and torture” by Delhi Police, for intervening while the cops were thrashing another man. Delhi Police, on its part, insists that Elliot was drunk, trying to steal a taxi, and had beaten up a couple of police men and an elderly driver. Even if we go by the Delhi Police version, what does it say about the rule of law in India’s capital city and the way its police metes out instant justice? Following is the full text of the signed statement of Joel Elliott about the night of Oct. 5 and the morning of Oct. 6.
I am a journalist working for The Caravan, a narrative journalism magazine run by Delhi Press. I also freelance for a number of publications, including The New York Times. The Christian Science Monitor. San Francisco Chronicle and Global Post. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Toccoa Falls College in Georgia, USA. My work has won a number of state, regional and national awards in the United States.
On the evening of Oct 5, I visited the home of Kate Webb and Ryan Fletcher, two freelance journalist friends of mine who were flying out to London at 5 the next morning. My own flight, to the United States, would leave in a few days hence, and so we wanted l” spend one more evening together as we three would not see each other again for quite Some time. Their home is in Jangpura Extension, as is mine. We are separated by some six or seven blocks, perhaps eight.
I became tired sometime around 2 a.m. Oct 6, and set out on foot, atone, to my home As I was walking in the darkness, I came around the comer of a building and walked literally into the middle of an altercation between at least four Delhi Police Officers, in uniform, beating a person beside the street. As I had not been paying attention, one police officer’s baton struck me, perhaps by accident, while he was beating the other person on the ground. Startled. I shouted. When I realized what was happening to the person on the ground, I shouted again. The police officer closest to me turned and advanced, shouting something in a language I did not understand. I shouted back, saying they couldn’t just beat people in the street. In the middle of the exchange, the officer swung his baton and struck me in the left upper arm area and began to raise his baton to strike again. I struck him in the jaw, and as he reeled back, turned and fled, turning off of the way to my home, as the officers were in the way. They gave chase, but I had somewhat of head start, and it was quite dark, so I was able to evade their line of vision for a time. It took me a few moments to find my way back to a road that I recognized. The problem was that they could easily catch me in their mobile command post. I began searching for a hiding place, and the most obvious places were in the row of cars parked along the left hand side of the road. I slowed to a fast walk, trying door handles to see if one were unlocked. I was hoping I could hide inside one of the cars until the polite passed, since I was afraid they found me. Door after door I tried, to no avail. The last Car I tried was an Ambassador cab — I had been particularly hopeful about this car, because it had darkened windows. However, I had apparently chosen a car near Bhogal Marker that was parked next to a guard, or a driver, because someone came out of the shadows shouting. I tried to explain I wanted a hiding place, not to steal a car (after all my home was only five or six blocks away – why would I need a taxi?) But the man was shouting in a language I did not understand, and apparently did not understand me, either. His shouts alerted the police, who were already in pursuit, as was mentioned before, and they arrived quickly and surrounded me. Advancing quickly, they began beating me with their batons. In self-defense, I swung at, and connected, with a few of them, but I quickly went down beneath a rain of blows on my head, back, arms, thighs, shins, buttocks and ankles. The beating continued for some time after I had fallen.
They shackled my arms behind my back, so tight that to this date I have drastically reduced sensation in my left thumb. Then they shackled my ankles together and threw me bodily into the back of the mobile command vehicle. Three officers climbed into the rear compartment with me and resumed beating me, this time with their fists. They also slammed my face into the seat and into the floor, which action I was unable to resist, since my hands were shackled behind my back.
After some rime we arrived at what I later learned was the AIIMS Hospital. At the time, however. I was not aware of location, became the officers had continually slammed my head do»n and I was unable to see out of the windows for some time. They threw me from the rear of the truck and I landed on the asphalt hard, without being able to catch myself. Unable to walk, I found the skin being removed from my knees and lower body as the officers hoisted me up by my arms behind my back and dragged me into the hospital entry way. Again, at this point I had no way of knowing where I was; I believed I was in the police station. When a nurse emerged with a hypodermic needle, I began screaming for help and for someone to call the US Embassy. After the officers’ rough treatment of me, I was afraid of what the syringe contained As far as I knew. the woman was an employee of the polite department. No one explained to me in English what was happening. I struggled, the officers held me down, and I finally was forced to be injected by an unknown substance — one that later turned out to be a sedative. When the injection was complete, the officer again picked up my upper body and dragged me across ihe concrete floor and parking lot back lo the truck.
Once inside the truck, the three officers in the rear continued to strike mc in ihe fate and head as we rolled to the police station.
At ihe police station, the officers hauled me out of the rear of the truck and tossed me to the ground, still shackled. I began again streaming for someone to call the US Embassy to report this beating and continued torture. I lay like this for perhaps two hours.
After 15 or 20 minutes of my shouting for help, an officer came out and began kicking me, apparently angered by my calls for help. He did this one or two more times, as I still continued calling for help. After an hour or two had passed, several officers came out and dragged me into the police station, still scraping my lower body across the concrete. They threw me into a holding room with a concrete floor. I lay like this for perhaps a couple of hours, still shouting for someone to call the US Embassy.
Two officers came in two or three times and kicked me while I was lying on the floor, apparently to make me be quiet. In between these instances, they targeted the other person in the room, a young Indian man of perhaps 17 who had been sitting quietly near a table along the wall. One two or three occasion, two officers entered the room, and one held him down on the table while the other beat the soles of his feet with a baton. The young man screamed, but the beating went on and on
I am not sure whethcr this was the same young man I saw being beaten earlier in the morning.
Around 9 a.m., the polite asked for my street address and called for my flatmate to come and get me. At no point during the six or seven hours they had held me did they offer me any food or water. At no point did they offer me the Opportunity make a phone call. At no point until my release did they unshackle me. At no point did they contact the US Embassy, according to the Embassy itself. The police are required to notify the US Embassy the moment a foreigner is arrested.
My flatmate took me to the hospital for treatment. I was covered in blood from head to toe from the police beating. My pants, which were still on me. were torn to shreds, and covered in blood. My shirt had been torn from my body. The hospital staff, concerned about the gaping wound to the side of my head and blood clots in my right eye, combined with the massive bruising across the whole of my body, kept me at AIIMS Hospital for two days and one night. I received five stitches to my eyebrow
I request a thorough inquiry into the six to seven hours of beating and torture I endured at the hands, feet and batons of Delhi Police. I request that the police officers responsible be removed ftom their positions
Further, I seek $500,000 US dollars in compensation for pain and suffering and mental anguish the Delhi Police inflicted upon me.
Date: October 8, 2009
Time: 4 p.m
Place: New Delhi
Second floor, N-31 B, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi
April 12, 2010
April 7, 2010
1. Road Show
2. Road drama
3. Press Conference
4. PIL in HC/SC
7. Web Site
8. BLOG your ideas
9. WRIT in HC
10. Candle Light Protest
11. Car Rally
12. Hunger Strike
13. Bike rally
14. Cycle rally
15. Petitions to IAS/IPS/Judges/MP/MLA/Ministers/PM/president
16. Marathon rally participation
19. Pamphlet distribution
21. RTI Campaign
22. SMS/Email campaign
23. Fax/Telegram campaign
24. Letter campaign
25. Facebook/Tweeter campaign
26. Write comments to the news paper articles
27. Media campaign
28. RTI inspection of records
29. Lobby with ministers and beauracrate
30. Engage discussions with NGOs
31. Organise group discussions
32. Create awareness in judiciary/police/Government babus/Lawyers/Society etc
33. Research reports on topics as MEN issue, 498a, DV etc
34. Analyse government data to prove misuse of gender bias laws
35. Conduct survey, polls etc to know extent of misuse.
36. Arguments and stratergy to prove misuse
37. Counter arguments to the false propaganda of feminist
38. Establish more helplines
39. Establish more local chapters
40. Establish more leaders
41. Bike stickers
42. Car stickers
43. Collection of judgements
44. Collecton of news articles re DV on MEN
45. Collecton of news articles showing WOMEN can be cruel and criminals
46. An OPEN Court to listen husbands sorrow
47. Human Chain
49. Meet Politicians, MPs, MLAs etc with petitions
50. Feed back Media article about misuse to Lawmakers
April 6, 2010
Subject: “Family Harmony Society” demands scrapping of Section 498(A), even as Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik gets implicated in it.
About FHS: “Family Harmony Society” [www.family-harmony.org] is a Non Governmental Organization promoting the cause of “family harmony” and “gender equality”. It is registered under “The Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960” and is based in Bangalore. “Family Harmony Society”, a men’s rights organization, creating awareness about the “Legal Terrorism” spread by misuse of marital laws like Section 498(A), Domestic Violence Act, etc. We, voices our strong concerns and objections in the matter of a case under Section 498(A) being filed against Pakistani Cricketer Shoaib Malik.
Marriage disputes before, during and after marriage are civil disputes and they have to be tried under a civil court. It has become a regular habit for women and their families to invoke section 498(A) for every petty dispute in marriage. It is dangerous if every marriage or relationship dispute is considered a crime by the Government and it sends police to interrogate, counsel or settle these marital disputes. “What crime did Shoaib Malik commit that he is victimized in this way?” ask FHS activists. Whether the claims by Ayesha Siddiqui are false or true, that is up to a family court or civil court to decide and give a judgment.
“Where do police come into picture?”
“Is Shoaib Malik posing a threat to anyone?”
“What Ayesha was doing till the marriage of Sania and Shoaib was announced?
Activists of the FHS have asked these above uncomfortable questions to Government and police.
The Hyderabad Police has done a grave mistake by accepting this complaint against Shoaib Malik, taking further action on it and retaining his passport. Instead, they should have simply redirected Ayesha’s family to the family court as it is a civil dispute. Either it is a case of divorce or null and void marriage. But by filing Section 498(A) against the cricketer, the police had clearly demonstrated lack of knowledge of a law 27 years old. Police is not the correct authority to interfere, investigate or counsel a family dispute. For this purpose “family courts” have been set up who should handle such cases. Government stops considering all marriage disputes as crime against women, at a time when the separation and divorce rates have risen quickly almost 7% from 1% a decade back.
The Government must scrap section 498(A) of IPC on April 16th as soon as parliament meets for Budget session. Section 498(A) is the most misused section of Indian Penal Code and there will be social unrest unless legal terrorism under this law stops. In 2008, more than 81,000 cases of 498(A) were registered which resulted in arrest of 37369 women and 127492 men. This law presumes the accused to be guilty till proven innocent.
Scrapping 498(A) will not harm women because real victims of dowry harassment or cruelty can use the Dowry Prohibition act and Domestic violence act to seek protection and justice. Section 498(A) is redundant today and it has done more damage to society than helping anyone.
So far as Shoaib Malik is concerned, the section 498(A) against him has to be dropped immediately and his passport should be returned to him. Indian Supreme court has warned against legal terrorism due to misuse of this law. Even president of India warned against its misuse. This law considers the accused to be guilty till proven innocent and the burden of proving oneself innocent lies with the accused.
If Government does not send a clear message in the case involving Shoaib Malik, then soon there will be enough women in India, who will claim that they have secretly married movie actors, cricketers and file cases of cruelty against them and then extort money. By not scrapping 498(A) IPC, Government is facilitating extortion, harassment and blackmail of innocent people. Government must scrap section 498(A) of IPC to save Indian families from breaking and to avoid harassment to innocent citizens.
For more information please contact:
P Suresh, President, 9880141531 M Mahesh, General Secretary, 9845448472
Family Harmony Society Family Harmony Society