[The followng is a report of the police crackdown on the peaceful protest in Khureji, against the CAA-NRC-NPR that had been going for quite some time. The team of Lawyers Against Atrocities comprising Ashutosh, Harjot, Harshita, Nasir and Rahul visited Khureji on 29 February 2020]
Brief Overview of the Situation in Khureji Khas
Since the 14thof January 2020, Khureji Khas in North East Delhi has witnessed peaceful protests against the divisive Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Registry of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR). The people of the locality, especially women,had been congregating day and night at an open site adjacent the Hindustan Petroleum pump on the Patparganj Road. On the 23rdof February 2020, responding to the Bhim Army’s call for a Bharat Bandh, the people of Khureji Khas conducted a sit-in protest on the Patparganj Road. On request from police officials to allow for the flow of vehicular traffic, the protesters complied by first allowing road access to the nearby Vivekananda Yogashram, then vacating half the road by the night of 23rd February and finally the entire road by noon of the following day.
Despite returning to the protest site to continue the peaceful protest, heavy police deployment continued in Khureji Khas. On Monday and Tuesday (24th and 25th of February), the Delhi Police were a constant presence at the protest site. Lining the roads, the police intimidated protestors, especially women. Suddenly without provocation, on the morning of 26th February 2020, the police personnel, many of whom did not bear their name tag, stormed into the protest site brandishing and discharging firearms and proceeded to evict the protestors, beating and injuring several in the process. It is reported that during this process, the police were seen destroying CCTV cameras, notably the one in front of the Hindustan Petroleum Pump. The police arrested several protestors, from the protest site and from their homes including Ishrat Jahan, Khalid Saifi, Mohammed Salim, Vikram Pratap, Salim Ansari and Sabhu Ansari among others taking them to the Jagatpuri Police Station.