Dear Fellow Indians,
George Floyd’s death in police custody, about two weeks ago, resulted in protests all over America, commonly known as the Black Lives Matter Movement. The whole world today stands united against racism and police brutality in the United States of America and urges them to eliminate racial discrimination and protect the lawful rights of minorities.
In India, just like other countries, social media has been packed with anti-racism posts and demands for justice for George Floyd. But since it’s easier to pinpoint others than to accept our flaws and work towards altering it, we have seen many such recent cases of police brutality in our own country go unnoticed, under cover of the case in the U.S.A., which happened to catch the world’s eyes.
Since the day India announced the lockdown due to Covid-19, Indian police have taken to extreme brutality, not based on race, but as a whole, and mainly towards the poor. Unfortunately, none of those cases resulted in outrage. Most people are not even aware of the incidents because news about Covid-19 has become the talk of the day, and because Covid-19 can wipe out the whole population, but police brutality is not affecting most of us directly.
In the first week of India’s lockdown, the police assaulted 173 people and were responsible for 27 deaths. In Bihar, the police shot a man who was transporting potatoes during the lockdown and refused to pay them a bribe when they asked for it. In West Bengal, a man was assaulted by the police because he stepped out to buy milk and later died from his injuries. Police brutality led to the death of a 50-year-old farmer, Banshi Khushwah, in Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh.
In Amritsar, Sukhdev Singh was thrashed by the police when he went out to buy medicines for his pregnant wife, along with her. He suffered a nose injury and was admitted to a hospital. The police chased him to his house and the incident was captured on CCTV cameras. A TV journalist was beaten by the police while reporting on lockdown in Thane district, Maharashtra. In Kerala, a dialysis patient was beaten by the police in Kannur’s Thalassery.
In case you look deeper into such cases, you would notice that most of these incidents involve either the poor or Muslims, and that is where inequality steps in, making our case similar to that of the U.S. Only 22 people had died due to Covid-19 from 25 to 31 March, 2020. It is clear that more people have died in lockdown brutality related incidents than Covid-19 during the period.
The worst part is that most Indians stand against the U.S. police at the moment, but what about their own country? All of us, from celebrities to politicians to students have been heard talking about decency, morality, equality, anti-racism and the like in the case of the U.S., but has anyone of us stood up and spoken about the reality in India? Protests have convulsed the U.S.A. alongside the coronavirus pandemic, with racial discrimination being the common thread between them.
But has any Indian thought of any way to help the situation in India? No. If you ask any Indian for an explanation, Covid-19 and the lockdown is used as a good excuse. But is getting on the streets to protest the only option we have? Are we that helpless? This is just a request to become more active citizens and look into our nation’s problems in order to find solutions to make our future a better one.
We must fight the nation’s flaws and become better citizens of a better nation. Long live India!