A disturbing video posted by Al Jazeera shows how social conditions of fear-mongering and religious bigotry on the other side of the Pakistan-India border aren’t much different.
The video shows a police officer recording inside a moving car with a young girl held back in the car. Next to her is a female constable. The video shows the male police officer calling the girl terrible names and reprimanding her for hanging out with a Muslim man. The female constable is seen beating her up as well.
According to the video, the girl and boy, who are medical students in the city of Lucknow, were turned into the police by a Hindu Right Wing Group called Vishwa Hindu Parishad, three days ago. The group claimed that the guy was practicing ‘love jihad’ – a notion that assumes Muslim men lure Hindu women into relationships to convert them.
It is disturbing that people who are supposed to be protecting citizens are actually completely abusing their office by instead resorting to such humiliating tactics such as the one. The confidence with which the UP police officer made the video shows that he knew his ‘schooling’ would gain public sympathy. The mere thought of it is vile. A personal relationship is not the state’s business. India’s claims to secularity are thwarted on a daily by the cropping up of such incidents of repression and violence.
The girl’s mother also revealed her views on the incident.
Girl first ‘rescued’ by VHP goons from ‘love jihad’. Then beaten, humiliated and filmed by Meerut cops. Watch her and her mother speak here. Especially from 11:32. https://t.co/S71nHtCEvJ
— Padmaja joshi (@PadmajaJoshi) September 26, 2018
She lamented over how her daughter’s strength and hard work is going to be overlooked just by association with the unfortunate incident. The mother also said she has full faith in her daughter and that she is fully aware of who her daughter meets.
Fortunately, though, the UP police won’t be getting away with their harassing misdemeanor. The three police personnel have been reportedly suspended with an inquiry launched into the incident.
The point to ponder over, before we jump to thrash India in its entirely is that we in Pakistan have similar issues as well.
Other the undeniable reality of forced conversions of Hindu girls in Sindh, there is another norm that bears similarity to the above incident. Often for no reason at all police are seen harassing girls and boys driving around in cars alone. The point, of course, is fear mongering and submission into offering bribes to the officers in question. It should never be the police’s business to demand that people furbish their ‘nikkah nama’ to legitimize their perfectly innocent hangout. Its corruption and there is no other way to put it. And of course, who can forget the infamous Maya Khan who practically chased around a young couple in the park to get some measly ratings in. She crossed all limits in accosting people sitting together in the park.
So this is an epidemic of sorts on both sides of the border. Whether it is a person in authority harassing people or a media person, or some self-assigned vigilante who finds their noses in other people’s business: STOP playing the moral police and defaming people.