Valentine's Day was Delhi's big date with politics. Be it Arvind Kejriwal's swearing-in ceremony as Chief Minister, or protests outside Hindu Mahasabha that question the politics of religion, much more than red roses and XL-sized teddy bears happened on Saturday.
A reader, who was at the protest outside the Mahasabha, writes about her ordeal with the police, who arrested her alongside many others and detained them for half a day.
Here's her candid open letter to the protectors of our capital.
Dear Delhi Police,
At least let me offend you before you arrest me. Why do you have to be so dramatic and loud? That's my job when I come out to protest. Let me be the hooligan. Why do you end up acting like one?
So I made this beautiful hand painted poster for the protest, but even before I could get the chance to flash it in front of the Hindu Mahasabha head office, about seven not-so-lady-like-policewomen grab-grope-thrash-shove-hit and throw me into this police van. I’m like hey, slow down all you Dabangg-fuelled people, at least let me offend you before you so illegally manhandle me.
Photo credit: Akhil Verma/ScoopWhoop
"Tu andar toh baith phir main batati hoon tuhje kyun andar daala hai". What? Pardon me, but last I remember I had some fundamental rights. One, you can not arrest me without a reason. Two, you can't physically assault me. That makes you the criminal, Delhi Police, not me.
Anyway, they pull me in the bus, grabbing me by my bangles that drag along my hands, bruising and scratching me all the way before they finally come off.
One of them tears my poster in that cliche filmy style and throws it up in the air, slyly posing for the media cameras too. Like, seriously?!
So I am in the van now, confused, amused, hurt and sweating. I can feel my tee-shirt that was nicely tucked in my skirt, because of all the manhandling has reached above my bra stap. Courtesy police halwaldarnis. To top it all, one of them asks me, "Koi tameez nahi hai kya apko?” What an elegant display by the women in khakis today. *slow clap*
I still haven’t told you why I went to protest in the first place. Well, it's super basic, I went for love. Uff too much. Wait there is more, I went because love is bigger than religion, and it's high-time these Hindu-choti-soch-sabha learned to respect it. Come on people, ancient India had more fun than we do now.
Bruv, I am a Hindu but this hindutva crap is not working out for me. I am offended when this Mahasabha propagates my religion through violence. Especially because Hinduism is all about love. And hey, how does that dude get to say shit like "We will kill Kejriwal" and get away with it?
I, on the other hand, did not say a word and was arrested. Hmm… very naughty Delhi Police, very naughty. Or is it because I am just a citizen of India, insignificant like coleslaw?
Okay, so three things. Let me not keep you from your cricket. This protest was for Love and not Valentine's Day. These wannabe guardians of my religion need to stop with this politics of hate. ASAP.
Two, this is about Hinduism and how you, Hindu Mahasabha, become anti-Hindu when you try to preach it through violence.
Third, man I’m bruised badly. Delhi Police, please behave yourself. It's super messed up if I have to go to a police station to write a complaint against you.
Finally, dude I am sick of politics, tired of religion, hurt from this hate, I just need more of the essential. For starters, I need LOVE.
While we may not endorse all of her views, she does raise a valid question. Why rough up peaceful protesters? What is so wrong in objecting to claims by the Hindu Mahasabha of marrying couples seen together on Valentine's Day?
Are we really a free country? Or is that just on paper?
(All images, except those specifically mentioned, have been sourced from the writer herself.)