The Idea of India: A Brutal Police Force

Betwa Sharma
Police officers detain a protesting against the new citizenship law outside Uttar Pradesh Bhawan  on Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. 

Welcome to the latest instalment of The Idea of India, HuffPost India’s monthly conversation about how we see ourselves as a people and a nation.

The people’s movement against discriminatory laws and any future plans to identify people on the basis of religion is persisting despite the Narendra Modi government’s efforts to derail it with brute force, misinformation and intimidation. 

A rich tradition of academic scholarship posits India’s police forces as an oppressive vestige of our colonial past. The police’s essentially colonial nature was on full display this month in Uttar Pradesh.

Sadaf Jafar, a political activist in Lucknow, who had stepped out to protest peacefully against the Citizenship Amendment Act, gave a blow-by-blow account of how she was tortured by male and female constables of the Uttar Pradesh Police. But more than their batons striking her back, the Shia Muslim woman said it was their language that betrayed just how communal the UP Police is.

“They kept saying, ‘You are Pakistani. You eat here, you have children here, but you support Pakistan,’” she said. “I could have never believed a police force could be filled with so much communalism and hate, but now I know.”

I could have never believed a police force could be filled with so much communalism and hate, but now I know.

The Modi government expelled Jakob Lindenthal, a German exchange student for joining a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens in Chennai. 

In a conversation with HuffPost India, Lindenthal talked about how he assumed India’s famed diversity came a large heart and generous spirit. The 24-year-old physics student was stunned by the  Indian government’s reaction to even the slightest dissent.

Turning India’s age old tradition of Atithi devo bhava — a guest is equal to God — on its head, the Modi government not only expelled Lindenthal, who was placed at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras,...

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