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This article was first published 2 years ago  » News » 'They said the order has come from the top-most authorities'

'They said the order has come from the top-most authorities'

June 20, 2022 10:24 IST
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'A male constable addressed my mother using profanities.'
'They said nothing could save our home from being bulldozed.'
'They want to make my father their sacrificial goat.'

IMAGE: Bulldozers demolish Javed Mohammed's residence in Prayagraj, June 12, 2022. Photograph: ANI Photo

Sumaiya Fatima, 20, is the youngest among the children of Javed and Parveen Mohammed, whose home was demolished by the Prayagraj Development Authority on June 12.

Javed Mohammad is accused of being the alleged mastermind of the June 10 protests in Prayagraj against former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma's remarks against Prophet Mohammed.

Sumaiya Fatima reveals to Prasanna D Zore/ the chronology of events that followed her father's arrest till the time their home was demolished, their two-day ordeal at a local detention centre, and why she feel the UP government is making her father a sacrificial goat.


It all happened so suddenly; we were rattled, but not scared

The police picked up my Abbu at around 8.30 pm on Friday from home. They asked my father to accompany them to the local kotwali (police station) for some questioning. There were two police jeeps, but it was all quite easygoing as my father accompanied them on his scooter and the cops did not object to it.

When asked by Abbu, the cops told him they were taking him to the SHO (Station Officer in-charge of local police station) as he wanted to speak with him.

Being a known activist my father often communicated with local cops and we did not see anything amiss. On many occasions before this he would often be called by the SHO, but come back home within an hour.

Sometime later, one of our relatives came home and asked us to give Abbu's insulin injections. As he is a diabetic he needs to take his jabs regularly. That was when we were a bit concerned.

Since it was more than four hours now (on the intervening night of June 10-11) we began to worry about his whereabouts.

Then cops came home after midnight and asked us (my mother and I) to accompany them to the police station. They said they wanted to speak with us.

My mother asked if they were taking us to the kotwali where my father was and they said yes. They told my Ammi that a lady officer wanted to speak with her.

Instead of taking us to the kotwali where my father had been detained they took us to the Civil Lines police station meant for women.

We were rattled, but not scared by these turn of events and went with them without asking any questions. We had known these cops for long now and we went along with them because we had nothing to fear.

Criminals get scared by law enforcers; we had nothing to worry about.

They snatched away our phone at the police station. They checked our phones. They asked us what kind of messages did my father post on social media. My father is quite active on Facebook. We told them they were all normal posts and they too can check them online.

A male constable addressed my mother by using profanities

When they realised that there were more people at home they said they will bring them too, talk to them and release all of us together.

We stayed there the whole night (intervening night of Jun 10-11) and didn't know what to do. We were totally confused when they came back without my sister (Afreen Fatima) and my elder brother's wife. My sister-in-law has two children aged four years and six months.

At 2 am (the intervening night of June 10-11) they (my sister and sister-in-law) refused to accompany the lady cops because there was nobody to take care of my paternal aunt who is a bit mentally unstable.

Perhaps, they (my sister and sister-in-law) realised that the cops were up to something fishy by then. They figured it out that the cops had some other plans.

When the cops came back they began questioning us about all the family members. These lady cops kept yelling at us blaming my sister and sister-in-law for making them sacrifice their sleep.

We heard them saying they should have detained my sister and sister-in-law instead of bringing us to the Civil Lines police station. These lady cops had no clue that my sister was an activist. I told them that she was the president of Aligarh Muslim University's women's wing when they asked me.

The moment I told them that my sister was president of the JNU students union their attitude towards us became harsher. They told my Ammi she may have sent my sister to study, but she was ruining her career at JNU.

They threatened us that they will now file an FIR against Afreen and bring her to the police station by force, even violent means, if necessary.

A male constable addressed my mother by using profanities on the night of June 11 at around 9-9.30 pm when they first told us to inform someone at our home and ask them to vacate our house immediately.

They said the order has come from the top-most authorities and nothing could save our home from being bulldozed.

My mother pleaded with them to leave us so that we could all together salvage our belongings, but they didn't budge.

They first told us they would leave us on the night of June 11, but later said they would take us home by beating us on the way and also at our home the next morning (Sunday, June 12, when the home was demolished).

They were threatening us because they were afraid they won't be able to vacate our house before a deadline set for them. The constables kept threatening us that they would arrest my sister soon and we too will face the same fate.

A lady officer routinely kept questioning us the next day (on Saturday, June 11). This lady officer was continuously talking on the phone with somebody

My mother spoke to my sister-in-law for just two minutes and asked her to vacate the house and take away as many belongings as she could.

We watched our home being demolished on live TV

The day our home was demolished they dropped us at our relative's home. They told us we will face dire consequences if we attempted to reach our home from there.

All the while three male and one female constable kept shooting our videos. They even shot videos of the old ladies at our relative's home who had come out to receive us.

Our relatives told us our father has been arrested and he was charged with being the mastermind conspirator of the violent protests after Friday namaaz (June 10). It was a shock to both of us.

We got to know about my father's arrest when we were already feeling hopeless about losing our home.

When we came out of this shock the first thing we saw was our home getting bulldozed. It was being broadcast live. We were watching the horror of our home getting demolished on live TV.

Ammi was not in her senses to understand what was happening around her. She was not so disturbed over the demolition, but she was shocked that my father was charged as an alleged conspirator.

She was not able to figure out how the cops, who shared very cordial relations with my father, could charge him as being a mastermind.

He had been consistently appealing to maintain peace, was not even at the place where the protests took place and that was all the more shocking to her.

I can only sense that they (the cops and administration) could have done it in a fit of rage or perhaps they want to make an example of my father, and any other Muslim, that you will face the same fate if you fight for your just rights. They want to make my father their sacrificial goat.

Nobody is giving us house on rent

Our Abbu is still in jail and we are at our relative's house. A few of my relatives, my brother Umam and our lawyer has been able to speak to him. He is doing well, but his sugar has been highly fluctuating because he was not allowed to take insulin jabs. He also suffers from hypertension and has undergone angiography thrice.

We are trying to find a house on rent so that we could keep whatever belongings and documents we have salvaged. Par is waqt toh koi ghar bhi nahi dena chahta hai (The times are so tough that nobody is even ready to give us a home on rent).

We did find a couple of homes, but the owners refused to let those because they are scared of the cops and administration. We almost fixed a deal for a house, but they refused to give it to us when they came to know that our family would be staying there.

We have seen another house aur ummeed yehi hai ki Insha Allah yeh ghar hamein mil jaye (we hope that by God's grace we will get to stay in another house that we have chosen).

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