Alok Agarwal, AAP state convenor for Madhya Pradesh, has been arrested by police because he stood up against the institutional murder of Indramal Bai. The mindset and functioning of the police and the state government in the case of alok Agarwal’s arrest by police in Indramal Bai’s suicide is shocking.
Indramal Bai was a waste-picker from the Pardhi community. She lived in Gandhi Nagar basti in Bhopal (M.P.) with her two young children. Her husband was living separately for the past 10 years. She was forced to take her life due to continuous harassment for over a week by policemen from the local Gandhi Nagar Police Station. (Pardhis, a denotified tribal community, have been subjected to police atrocities for decades).
Distraught and with no way out from the police pressures, she was forced to take this extreme step. The policemen were trying to extort money by threatening to register a criminal case of theft against her. They did not relent even after repeated pleas by Indramal of her innocence and her inability to give any money. On the
fateful day (Friday, 17th November 2017), the corrupt policemen visited her house thrice. By the end of it, she was so desperate that she poured kerosene on herself. Indramal’s relatives ran to save her but she already had over 60% burns when admitted to the Hamidia Hospital. She breathed her last in the intervening night of Sunday and Monday (20th November 2017)
It has been reported in the media that Indramal Bai, in her dying declaration to the Magistrate, has said that she had accidentally caught fire when she was burning the scrap.This kind of testimony has been deliberately written to protect the police. The accused policemen were roaming around the hospital and were in the ward itself where Indramal was admitted. There are doubts on how the questions were asked and how the replies were documented. Her family members’ testimonies as well as her own video testimonies available clearly show that she was pushed to take the extreme step of trying to end her life. Moreover, the Investigation Officer made no effort to take Indramal Bai’s testimony again while she was alive.
Residents of the basti and several concerned people staged a non-violent dharna outside Gandhi Nagar police station. They demanded that an FIR must be registered against the policemen whose illegal, inhuman and cruel act prima facie forced Indramal Bai to take the extreme step. The police officers said that they will decide the course of action once the police enquiry into the incident is completed. Thus, even the basic right to file an FIR was not heeded despite the fact that it was the third day of filing the complaint. Registering an FIR is a constitutional right of every citizen. The Gandhi Nagar police’s excuse that they will register the FIR only after the investigation is completed is a violation of the Constitution.
Though people were sitting in a peaceful way and negotiating with the police functionaries present on the spot, when ASP Sameer Yadav reached the site, he started manhandling the activists and instigated the people. He pushed Alok Agrawal, State Convener for Aam Aadmi Party and pushing him on the ground, told the police to arrest him. The police recklessly carried out a violent lathi-charge seriously injuring many people.
The arrest of Alok Agarwal while demanding for an FIR registration is a completely illegal act. Refusal to give bail because of political pressure is an illegal interference of the government in legal matters of the court.
Madhya Pradesh government has adopted a silent stand on the institutional murder of Indramal Bai. The inaction of police functionaries on a constitutional demand of registering of an FIR shows the deplorable condition of the state we are living in today. The police response in the matter has been not only unlawful but gravely insensitive and cruel towards a community which has already been violated for decades. It is also shocking to see the callous attitude of the police towards crimes against women. Moreover to protect the illegal and deplorable actions of its own men, the police is resorting to framing charges against Alok Agarwal.