Alwar Cobra Team hit and abused women and children but no action against cops

On the initiative of Alwar’s SP, Vikas Kumar, “Cobra Team” was formed some six months ago. It consists of police officers under training. An idea of its brutality can be had from a recent incident when the head of this team, Sidhu, an IPS trainee forced his entry into a house and threw a four-year-old child out of the house, kicked a pregnant woman on her stomach, dragged other women by their hair and hurled choicest of abuses on them. The Cobra team heaped so many brutalities on innocent minority members which put humanity to shame, but in spite of such hair raising atrocities no action was taken against this team.

At the encouragement and support of Alwar’s SP, these police personnel are roaming free even when the news of this brutal incident was brought to the notice of authorities in Delhi. On 13 July Anwar Ali, MP from Bihar, and Shabnam Hashmi, chairperson of ANHAD, reached Alwar and in a press conference exposed the excesses and beastly behaviour of the Cobra team, particularly of Sidhu, IPS.

This particular incident took place on 4 July when in Sirmoli village of Alwar district police intercepted a tractor carrying stones at about 9.30 pm. To enquire into this matter police called for Ismail Meo, a “reliable person” from a nearby village. When Ismail came to the police station, a case was registered against the tractor driver/owner in his presence and names of the accused persons were also registered. After this, Ismail returned to his village but shortly thereafter the same night about 50-60 policemen attacked his house. While firing a few shots, they entered his house by force. Since it was the month of Ramzan, men and women were busy in prayers. Policemen rained lathi blows on praying women, hurled dirty abuses at them without any rhyme or reason, kicked an 8-month pregnant woman on her stomach. She fell on the ground and started crying in pain. Without having any pity on her, Sidhu dragged her by her hair. She was Ismail Meo’s younger daughter-in-law. When her husband, Ismail Meo’s son, Sahil, came to protect her, Cobra team members hit him with the rifle butt because of which he received serious injuries on his jaws, lips and blood started oozing from his mouth. They pushed him so hard that he fell on the ground. Thereafter, they climbed up the roof of the house where Ismail’s daughters-in-law were offering Namaz. A young four-year-old child was lying in a cot. Cobra police turned the cot upside down. The child obviously fell on the floor and began to cry. Hearing his cries, his mother disrupted her Namaz and came running to see him. A policeman put the rifle before her and stopped her. Another policeman brutally hurled the child on the ground in front of his mother and beat him and abused the mother.  They misbehaved and abused the woman who tried to protect her child. Both daughters-in-law of Ismail were wearing golden chains. While returning, the policemen snatched both women’s chains. Outside the house, a Bolero car and a motorcycle were parked. Policemen smashed the windscreen of the car and took away both the car and the motorcycle with them. Thereafter the police team moved towards the village’s mosque and after forcing their entry into the mosque with their shoes on, they broke open the lock of a room inside the mosque. When the Masjid Imam tried to stop them, they abused him and mercilessly thrashed him because of which he became unconscious and fell on the ground.

In the morning when people came to know about all what had happened in the night, social workers of the village, Ramzan Chaudhary and Noor Muhammad, met the SP who flatly denied that any such incident had taken place. They showed medical reports of Ismail’s daughters-in-law but the SP dismissed them as false. Finally, a case was registered in the court against Cobra police next day (5 July). This case is now under investigation.  

Anwar Ali Ansari, MP, and Shabnam Hashmi came to Alwar on 13 July to investigate the matter.  Later they held a press conference in which they said in clear terms that Cobra police  has been targeting only the minorities under a planned conspiracy and Alwar’s SP, Vikas Kumar, is complicit in this conspiracy by dubbing Mewati Muslims as “criminals” and bringing a bad name to them. They demanded of the government that a FIR should be registered against Cobra police and against Sidhu in particular, and other accused policemen should be immediately arrested. Shabnam Hashmi said that the manner in which Cobra police has beaten innocent young children and the way they  hurled dirty abuses at innocent women, dragged them by their hair, kicked a pregnant woman on the stomach and used highly vulgar and abusive language against them, are legal crimes under the Anti-Rape Law. They demanded that Alwar SP should be sacked immediately and innocent women and children who were subjected to inhuman cruelties should be paid compensation.

They said that if someone has committed a crime, police has every right to arrest him but what innocent children and women had done that policemen unleashed their beastliness on them. Shabnam Hashmi, describing Cobra team  as unnecessary and unwanted, asked why after all these policemen went to the mosque and houses only at night? She said that she would raise the matter before the National Commision for Women because the Alwar SP is describing this whole incident as false. Hence expecting any justice from him is a waste of time.

This incident has reached Delhi but there is complete silence over the issue here and in Jaipur. No local or national newspaper has published even a single line on this incident, probably because of a special reason that Rajasthan’s chief minister Vasundhra Raje Sindhia had recently patted the back of Alwar’s SP for constituting the “crack” Cobra team. Under such circumstances, no body wants to take the risk of accusing and criticising Alwar’s SP and his Cobra team.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 August 2014 on page no. 1

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