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Journalist? ‘Udhar le jao’

Shaheen Abdulla was beaten up by police at Jamia Millia Islamia last month

By Piyush Srivastava in Lucknow
  • Published 24.01.20, 3:37 AM
  • Updated 24.01.20, 3:37 AM
  • 2 mins read
Police confronted Abdulla around 1pm at the Shah Jamal area of Aligarh (iStock)

Most of India saw Shaheen Abdulla being beaten up by police at Jamia Millia Islamia last month and a brave friend, Aysha Renna, shielding him from the blows.

On Thursday, Uttar Pradesh police detained Abdulla for five hours while he was covering for a news portal a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the student and eyewitnesses said.

Abdulla, a final-year PG student at Jamia, was live on Facebook when the police confronted him around 1pm at the Shah Jamal area of Aligarh.

The following are excerpts from a conversation in Hindi that was taped on video whose images are not clear but the voices, including that of a purported policeman, are largely audible:

Unidentified voice: Where do you come from?

Abdulla: From Delhi.

Voice: Which Delhi?

Abdulla: From New Delhi. I am also a student of Jamia.

Voice: Idhar aao tum, tumse baat karenge (Come here, we will talk to you). You are a journalist, come here.

Voice: Chal, chal (come, come).

The voice to another person: Udhar le jao (Take him there).”

Voice: Where do you hail from?

Abdulla: From Kerala.

Voice: From Kerala? What are you doing here? How many of you have come here?

Abdulla: What is the issue?

Voice: Should I tell you the issue?

Voice: Matlab se matlab hai ki rajniti se matlab hai (Are you interested in something or in politics)?

The exchange continues but the words are not audible.

Eventually, Abdulla, who was still recording, is heard saying: Abhi main detained hun (Now I am detained).

Voice: You are doing journalism there. Then, what are you doing here?

Abdulla: I work, too.

Voice: Who else was with you? … There must be one more person with you.

Abdulla was released at 6pm when some of his friends at Aligarh Muslim University and journalists gathered at the Shah Jamal police outpost.

Later, Abdulla told The Telegraph: “They detained me at Delhi Gate police station and asked questions like why I was covering the protest. They saw in my laptop pictures of protests at several places in western Uttar Pradesh and asked me whether I was doing all that to humiliate the state police.”

He added: “Initially, he held me by my hand but didn’t assault me physically thereafter. They were careful with me as they realised that I am a journalist.”

Anil Samania, a police officer, was quoted by the local media as saying: “If any person is detained, he or she is given the opportunity to prove that they are innocent. We release them if they are wrongly taken into custody.”