New Delhi: The All India Students Association (AISA), a Left-wing student organisation, has alleged that two women members were sexually assaulted and dragged on the road by Delhi Police personnel during a protest outside Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s residence Sunday.
Neha Tiwari (25) and Shreya Kapoor Banerjee (22) have claimed that police personnel repeatedly kicked them in their private parts and also dragged them on the road, exposing their undergarments.
In a statement released Tuesday, AISA called for the dismissal of Pragya Anand, assistant commissioner of police (ACP), Chanakyapuri, for allegedly instructing personnel to assault the female protesters. The student activists Wednesday also submitted a letter to Delhi Police calling for ACP Anand’s suspension.
A senior officer in Delhi Police said they had taken note of the letter and will form a committee to probe the allegations.
“We have taken note of the letter and it has been forwarded to the PHQ (police headquarters). An independent inquiry committee will be formed to probe the allegations leveled against ACP Pragya Anand. An officer from outside the New Delhi district will head the committee,” the senior police officer told ThePrint.
The Sunday protest by AISA was called to demand the dismissal of Union MoS for Home Ajay Mishra for his son’s alleged involvement in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident.
A car in Mishra’s convoy was allegedly driven into a group of protesting farmers on 3 October in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh, triggering violence. A total of eight people died as a result, including farmers allegedly run over by the vehicle.
‘Manhandled by male cops, female personnel reached later’
Tiwari and Banerjee were part of a group of 20 protesters who had marched to Shah’s Delhi home Sunday. They were among three women at the protest, the third being AISA Delhi secretary Neha (only one name).
“As we reached near Amit Shah’s house, within minutes, we were detained by male police personnel. There were two other girls with me, they split the three of us and started manhandling us. I decided to record the whole thing on my phone so they snatched it and refused to return it. When I demanded that they return my phone, they started kicking me on my private parts,” Tiwari told ThePrint.
According to Banerjee, a policeman dragged her by her kurta, “seemingly in an attempt to unrobe her”. She alleged female personnel came to the scene much later.
“Female police came to the scene much later but by the time they came male police personnel had already manhandled us. When they were taking me away to another bus a policeman dragged me by kurta, he dragged me in such an inhumane manner that my undergarments were visible for everyone to see. All the other police personnel were just standing on the side and watching it happen,” she told ThePrint.
The two activists also claimed they were taken into separate buses and beaten by police.
“I was taken away in a separate bus where female constables after getting a free rein from their seniors started hitting me brutally. One policewoman started pinching me on my chest. Is this how they should be behaving with peaceful student protesters? If they think they can break our spirit by behaving with such brutality then they are mistaken,” said Delhi AISA secretary Neha.
Meanwhile, she also alleged that ACP Pragya Anand instigated her subordinates to assault the protesters.
“While police dragged and beat us, ACP Anand instigated her subordinates by saying — itne se protesters detain nahi ho rahe aapse, maaro inko (you’re not able to detain these few protesters, hit them),” she said.
Following the incident, over 60 protesters held a protest outside Delhi Police headquarters Wednesday afternoon, demanding the dismissal of ACP Anand and the other personnel involved in the incident.
Inputs from Bismee Taskin
(Edited by Rachel John)