NFTV:Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh: It seems like the country is becoming a police state, its obvious to say when police not able to stop the riot and unable maintaining to the law and order but picking up a journalist while he was taking a meal in a busy road near the state BJP office in Lucknow. Today ‘The Hindu’ Uttar Pradesh correspondent Umar Rashid was pickup by Lucknow Police and taken to the police station, then to a police post, abused with communal slurs, told to stuff his journalism where it hurts. Accused him as one of the conspiracies of the Lucknow violence.
According to Omar Rashid Around 6:45 pm on Friday evening, He was trying to take a quick meal at a Dhaba outside the UP BJP office, waiting to hear about a press conference to be held by the UP govt a few blocks away, when at least four men in plainclothes barged in. I was accompanied by Robin Verma, a local activist and friend, and two others, both journalists. The men did not identify themselves and inquired about us using strong and aggressive words. They told them they wanted to question me about something. In the very first instance, Omar revealed his identity as a journalist and asked them what the matter was all about. However, they packed Robin Verma and Omar Rashid, into a police jeep, snatched the cell phone and asked not to call or inform anyone or he would regret it. They refused to explain anything to us and asked me to talk only when they asked. A police officer responded by abusing Omar and said You should keep my journalism to yourself, in abusive Hindi. his Kashmiri background was referred to several times and despite informing them about his newspaper ‘The Hindu’, they continued with their questions and threats. “You are a suspect,” Omar was told and asked to shut up.
For the next few minutes, the policemen badly beat up Robin Verma. They made the same charges against him. Then Omar and Robin were packed into the rear seat of a police jeep and driven a few km away to the Sultanpuri police outpost without being told anything.
Both were taken into a tiny room and questioned. The cops repeatedly asked me about the whereabouts of some “Kashmiris” and where Omar was hiding them. Omar replied to all their queries in the negative as he had no clue why Omar was brought there in the first place. A few minutes later, two policemen, of the rank of CO, came in. According to Omar Rashid, he was told to stand up. The police officer, whose name he didn’t know, the cop told him would set him right. they were wearing protective gear.
Omar Rashid was then taken to another room in the quarters of a constable, where he was also photographed like an accused.
The same cop who threatened to put Omar Rashid in place, again asked him about the “Kashmiris” and said he would cut down all his beard and thrash him if he didn’t answer his questions as per his requirement or liking. Since Omar didn’t have his phone, The cop left after some time and Omar was kept in the room till around 8:30 pm. Omar was then called to the office of the Circle Officer of Hazratganj who questioned Omar for a few more minutes. The CO was asked the same questions and he was asked earlier: if Omar was a part of the protest if He knew certain individuals, especially Kashmiris and about Omar Rashid’s professional and background. The same cops who abused and intimidated Omar earlier now apologized to him and tried to explain that he was picked up due to a “confusion.” This was despite the fact that he had identified himself as a journalist from the very first moment. The police then let him off.