Jailed and Harassed Former IGP Darapuri, 76, Shares His Ordeal

I am a 1972 batch IPS officer of the Uttar Pradesh Cadre. After retiring as Inspector-General of Police in 2003, I have been active on issues of human rights, Dalit rights, the Right to Information, the Forest Rights Act, the Right to Food and Education etc.

I am also vice-president of People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Uttar Pradesh, former Advisor to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, and national spokesperson for the All India Peoples Front. I contested the Lok Sabha election from Robertsganj in 2014 and 2019.

Our main work is among Dalits, Adivasis, Farmers and Contract Labourers of the Sonbhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli districts of Uttar Pradesh.

We opposed the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the Citizenship Amendment Act because we believe they are discriminatory and violate the Indian Constitution.

We had decided to peacefully oppose the CAA in Lucknow on December 19 last year.

On the morning of December 19, when I walked out of my house to go to the park, I saw a policeman standing outside the gate. He told me his duty was to keep an eye on me at my home.

Soon thereafter a police vehicle arrived with several policemen. After two hours or so, the police jeep left but policemen remained till 5 pm. I was under house arrest without any reason.

I wrote a Facebook post on my detention at home and later in the afternoon, when I learnt that there had been violence at the [Lucknow anti-CAA] protest site, I updated the post and condemned the violence.

The next morning on December 20, shortly before noon, Circle Officer Ghazipur Deepak Kumar Singh and Inspector Vijay Singh arrived with several policemen and asked me to accompany them to the Ghazipur police station.

I asked him if he was arresting me. He replied that I was to be taken to the police station. I thought this was preventive arrest under Section 151 Cr.P.C. and I would be set free in the evening.

At the police station, I was not allowed to meet or talk to anyone. When my wife called, she was told I was not there. She panicked and sent WhatsApp messages to senior police officers in Lucknow and put up a Facebook post saying that men in uniform had taken me away but my whereabouts were not known.

Around 5.30 pm I was taken by jeep to the Hazratganj police station. I asked Inspector Dhirendra Pratap whether I was under arrest. He teasingly said, “Yes, by now 39 have been arrested and you are the 40th.”

Around 8 pm a sub-inspector informed me that I was to be produced before a Remand Magistrate. I demanded then that I be allowed to call my lawyer. But permission to call my lawyer was denied and I was taken to the Remand Magistrate’s residence in River Bank Colony.

I was asked to wait outside but I barged in before the Remand Magistrate and informed him that on the day of the violence (the previous day) I was under illegal house arrest from 7 am to 5 pm and I had not gone out of my house. I had been picked up from home at 11.45 am and was being produced before him after 8 pm.

Asked by the Remand Magistrate about the charge against me, the SI replied that I was charged under Section 120B of the IPC for criminal conspiracy.

After listening to both of us, the magistrate refused to grant a jail remand, rebuked the SI and said he would report him for taking punitive action against innocent people. He began writing on a sheet of paper and after some time I was asked to wait outside.

Soon thereafter Inspector Hazratganj, Dhirendra Pratap Kushwaha arrived and went inside to speak to the magistrate. He was there for a long time but apparently did not succeed in persuading the magistrate to remand me to jail.

It was around midnight that we returned to Hazratganj PS. To my shock and horror, in the case diary they recorded that the Remand Magistrate was not available at home due to ill health and hence the jail remand could not be obtained.

The case diary also falsely said that I had been arrested from a park in the metropolitan area at 5.40 pm, whereas I was taken away from my house at 11.45 am.

It was a chilly night. Lucknow gets bitterly cold in December. But when I asked for a blanket, the policemen told me that they were under instructions of Lucknow SSP Kalanidhi Naithani and Inspector Hazratganj that no blanket be given to me.

I however picked up the mobile handset of the Munshi when he had gone out and called home, asking my son to bring me a jacket, a blanket and a cap. Around 2 am my son arrived and confided that he had come to the police station in the daytime and the police had threatened to arrest him as well.

On December 21 I was detained at Hazratganj PS till 5.30 pm and taken to jail in a prison van. I was presented before a Remand Magistrate around 7 pm. I repeated what I had told the previous Magistrate. But this gentleman paid no heed and signed on my 14-day jail remand. He condescendingly told me, “You yourself have served in the police department. Surely you would be aware that this is how the system works.”

I reached the jail barrack around 9.30 pm. I had not had my breakfast when the police picked me up from home on December 20 but I was given no food by the police until I arrived in jail. In the jail too I could not get any food on the night of December 21 since it was late.

Surprisingly the investigating sub-inspector, Hazratganj, did not record my statement u/s 161 CrPC at any stage but wrote it out on his own.

I had not stepped out of my house on December 19, 2019 but have still been charged in case No. 600/2019 of Hazratganj police station u/s 147/148/ 9/152/307/323/504/506/332/188/435/ 436 / 120B, Criminal Law Amendment Act-7 dated 19/12/19.

My name did not figure in the FIR but even then I was falsely implicated, arrested and sent to jail for 3 weeks.

Since I was totally innocent and the police failed to produce any evidence against me in court, I was released on bail on January 7. Now a charge sheet has been filed in the court in which I am described as the Master Mind of a conspiracy to instigate the violence.

You can see that I had nothing to do with the violence which took place in Lucknow on December 19 during the anti-CAA protest, but still I have been implicated on account of a political vendetta against me.

As you might have heard the Yogi Government had put up our posters/ hoardings giving our names and addresses and the amount to be recovered on account of damage to public property. It exposed us not only to name and shame but also to personal attacks.

Although the Allahabad High Court directed the Yogi government to remove these illegal hoardings the state government refused to comply, even without getting a stay against the High Court order from the Supreme Court.

In March I was served with a recovery notice to the tune of Rs. 64 lakhs without my guilt being proved by any court. I filed a writ petition in the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad for a stay of the recovery notice in March, but as usual after many dates no order has been passed so far.

It may be mentioned that the recovery notice issued by Tehsildar Sadr, Lucknow is illegal because it has been issued under Sec. 143(3) which does not exist in the UP Revenue Code.

In the meantime revenue officials have been raiding my house, threatening my arrest and seizure of my house property.

This highhandedness and illegal action of the state has caused a lot of mental and physical harassment to me and also to my family. My wife aged 74 is suffering from comorbidity (liver cirrhosis, heart problem, asthma and diabetes) and is bed-ridden.

When I was in jail Priyanka Gandhi took all the trouble to come to my house to enquire about her health. I am thankful to her for this act of kindness.

My grandson and granddaughter who are preparing for the civil service exams have been highly disturbed. But I am happy that my entire family has stood behind me like a rock.

As regards me I am already much tempered for all such ups and downs and I continue to work with full steam.

From the above you can see that if the police can harass, engage in excesses and illegalities with a person who has been in the Indian Police Service for 32 years, you can imagine what they can do to an ordinary person.

Hence we can say that India is now a Police State with indiscriminate and arbitrary arrests and detention. What police says is the law. Facts no longer matter.

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