LUCKNOW, Uttar Pradesh — “Sir, my name is Dr. Pawan Rao Ambedkar. I’m a maths teacher. Sir, I’m not part of the violence,” Pawan Rao Ambedkar, 37, said over and over again as the blows rained down on him on 19 December, the day the Uttar Pradesh Police attacked peaceful protesters in Lucknow.
Ambedkar says he was slipping in and out of consciousness when a woman constable slammed her scooter helmet on his head. He can’t remember how many times she hit him with the helmet, but he remembers it breaking into pieces. He remembers his head swelling up.
“I was semi-conscious. I felt numb. It was an assault on my body and mind and there was nothing that I could do to stop it,” said Ambedkar in an interview with HuffPost India after he was released on bail on Friday.
Ambedkar, 37, was among the social activists who were beaten and arrested after the demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), that Home Minister Amit Shah is proposing, allegedly turned violent in Lucknow.
The crackdown was so brutal that no one has tried to protest against the discriminatory citizenship law in UP’s capital city after that.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in UP, led by Chief Minister Ajay Bisht, who calls himself Yogi Adityanath, has crushed dissent by repeatedly invoking Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, making it illegal for more than four people to gather at one place.
The synchronised arrest of social activists means no one is left to mobilise people for peaceful protests . Those who were not arrested say they are being watched by the “LIU” — the Lucknow Intelligence Unit.