Prominent Indian journalist beaten up by Jammu and Kashmir Police

Is the Jammu and Kashmir Police a private, leaderless, unaccountable militia force that can go about beating up anyone they like in the name of saving Kashmir for India?

Well known Indian author and journalist David Devadas, a fellow with the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in Delhi and author of a book on Kashmir, was beaten up by personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir Police in Srinagar on September 5. Sheela Bhatt reports on Rediff.com:

In a letter written to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Devadas said that on September 5, when he was crossing the Rambagh bridge in his car in evening in heavy traffic, he heard a loud bang at the back of his car. His car was hit by another car.

It was a security vehicle which was part of a convoy. One of the vehicles had a car flying the national flag. Devadas claims, “Those who were in this convoy had apparently got the impression that my car was obstructing their way, and became angry with me for this reason.”

The story only begins there:

In few minutes, more policemen came and started hitting him with hands and metal lathis and abused him. In spite of such serious assault, policemen have filed an FIR against Davadas, saying that he made a `jaan-leva hamla’ (lethal attack) against them when their convoy had passed his car.

Devadas says, “At no point of time during this incident did I resort to using force against police persons, even in self-defence. They further made a baseless allegation that I had a pistol. I do not own any pistol, and I made it clear to them that I was not carrying any pistol. On mentioning that I was a journalist, they threatened that they would teach me a lesson in the police station. Further, they continued to use profanities and issued threats.”

Read the full report here. And don’t expect anyone to be brought to book.

Do wonder: if this is what a well-known Indian writer faces in Kashmir, what does the average Kashmiri face?

13 thoughts on “Prominent Indian journalist beaten up by Jammu and Kashmir Police”

  1. I consider Mr. Devdas still lucky that he was not shot dead by the security forces, branded as a Pakistani terrorist named Abu..etc etc., and his dead body handed over to the locals for his last rites. This modus operandi has been working successfully since last two decades in Kashmir and brings gallantry and financial awards to the security forces.

  2. I personally know a few Army men. Have spoken to a few others in passing in various parts of the country. They appear to be pretty normal folks. Missing family when on the front lines, worries about their kids etc etc. Your posts really make me wonder, what could transform them from the affable to the demonic !
    God save our country …

    1. Simple reason, sir. Because you give them the unbridled powers to do so without any accountability. Ask any Kashmiri, Naga, Mizo, or Assamese, they’ll vouch for what I am saying.

  3. This is very unfortunate, and one can just wonder what an average Kashmiri goes through. When poeple like David can be made to go through such humiliation, i wonder how vulnerable the rest might feel…

  4. Still the Indian media would prefer to show Baba Ramdev’s Ramleela or Anna’s fast or Aishwarya’s pregnancy or Amitabh Bachchan’s signing of a hollywood film or even a special one hour show on Dhoni’s horoscope but atrocities of India in Kashmir will find no mention as its against national security,national interest and integration. A TV Host Of a BJP affiliated channel would term it as a conspiracy hatched by LeT and ISI to malign brave security forces in Kashmir

  5. Do wonder: if this is what a well-known Indian writer faces in Kashmir, what does the average Kashmiri face?

    I am not sure Mr. Devadas is a “well-known Indian writer” though he does have a book on Kashmir and is a St. Stephens alumni to boot. That aside, the incident is not very different from what happens elsewhere in India. Jean Dreze — much more famous than David Devadas, I would think — was beaten up by the police in 2005. The following excerpt is taken from the archives of Arab News:

    CALCUTTA, 7 June 2005 — A close aide of Sonia Gandhi was mistaken for a Maoist guerrilla and mercilessly thrashed by the police in Balrampur near the Jharkhand-Chattisgarh border, a leading daily reported.

    Ananda Bazar Patrika said in a front page report yesterday that Jean Dreze, a noted Belgian-born economist who is a member of United Progressive Alliance chief Sonia Gandhi’s National Advisory Council, was on a tour of the backward region accompanied by 35-40 students of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University when he was roughed up.

    On Saturday night, security personnel stopped a bus carrying Dreze and JNU students who had come for an on-the-spot-assessment of the federal-funded Rashtriya Rojgar Yojna, or national employment guarantee scheme, in the tribal Surguja-Gumla belt.

    Apparently, the police first dragged a few students out and beat them up. When the bearded Dreze tried to intervene, he was kicked and punched until he revealed his identity and pleaded with the men in uniform to stop beating him.

    Dreze and his boys cut short their traumatic tour after they were assaulted and flew back to Delhi.

    The governments of Jharkhand and Chattisgarh have instituted a high-level probe into what is being described as an unfortunate incident by top officials of the two states.

    Chattisharh Chief Minister Raman Singh yesterday ordered the Balrampur police chief to “collect all details about the incident and take stern action against those responsible for assaulting the economist”.

    A spokesman for Jharkhand government said that the bus was stopped and searched because “Dreze’s team was shouting slogans similar to Maoist slogans”.

    Note the standard response of “high-level probe” whatever that means. Note, even worse, the justification offered: the students and their professor were “mistaken” to be Maoist guerillas. Presumably, once someone is identified (mistakenly or otherwise) as a Maoist guerilla, anything goes. None of the silly presumed innocent until proven guilty nonsense. I’ll warrant that, as usual, the incident has been quietly buried without anyone being punished.

    To me, what happened to Mr. Devadas reinforces the danger of giving power without accountability to any agency. What frightens me about the incident is the fact that the J & K police are fully aware that they are abusing their powers. They are doing so not because they are looking for a terrorist or anything like that but simply because they can. They are secure in the knowledge that no action will be taken against them for abusing their powers.

    We should all feel frightened by such wanton abuse of power, anywhere in India.

  6. The Unprecedented oppression done to the kashmiri’s by heartless indian rulers nd their sponsored agensies(police army, sog…) in d valley is liable to mass criticism.it is therefore not for nothing to mention that the advocates of so called indian demo- cracy should raise against dis type of inhuman atrocities comited by india just for d petty purpose of merging kashmir with it . It is high time to raise ur voice it is high-time.

  7. First of all it should be ascertained who are the policemen who beat up Devdas. Were it paramilitary forces (CRPF) or local police? If local police, they will mainly be Kashmiri Muslims themselves. So the ire could be against Indians in general even, not just the other way. So more info is needed.

    1. Firstly whos so ever has done this is brutal and i have no doubt about that and i am sure you have because you need more info. We are looking at the brutality of Indian Agencies and J&K police is one of the agencies. There is only brutality and nothing of Hindu Muslim thing. All foot solidiers in Indian Freedom Movement were Indians. I ask you did that made All British Brutal Officers good. No. Secondly the brutally beaten man is an Indian. So i ask does that make him a less victim. NO. So please rise above your communal soul and be human. Least you can do is not post these absurd comments at all.
      The only thing you got right in this post is that atleast you felt that Kashmiris are not INDIANS. Thanks. Advice to you is that Humanity is above all including your communal nationalism,

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