‘Why do you have Muslim friends?’ cops asked activist

Jan 14, 2020
Lucknow: Robin Verma, a human rights activist who was arrested in connection with anti-CAA protests in Lucknow on December 20, was released from jail on Tuesday. He had been granted bail last week.

Narrating his ordeal, Verma said that the police repeatedly asked him after he was taken into custody that “You are a Hindu, why are you friends with Muslims?”

Verma alleged that he was physically tortured and insulted by the policemen who warned him that his wife and minor daughter would also be subjected to similar treatment.

They screened his mobile phone and berated him for having several Muslims’ numbers in his phone and WhatsApp list.

“Where do you go with them (Muslims) and why do you have so many Muslims as friends?” they allegedly asked Verma.

He claimed that the policemen also used abusive language for his wife.

Verma was picked up along with a journalist from a national daily on December 20 while they were having a meal at a restaurant in Hazratganj area.

The activist was taken to the Hazratganj police station and then to the Sultanganj station where he allegedly was punched, slapped and thrashed with a leather belt.

Verma said that he was beaten by the policemen in civilian clothes. He said he was denied blankets, food and water during his detention in the police station.

Interestingly, Verma’s name did not figure in the FIR lodged at Hazratganj police station. He was later booked for rioting, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy and damage to public property.

Denying the charges levelled against him, Verma said he was not a part of any violence but had protested peacefully.
IANS