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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

JNU scholar says police officers asked him: Andhe ho toh protest mein aaye kyun?

The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) and the JNU Visually Challenged Students’ Forum condemned the police action on the visually challenged student Shashi Bhushan Pandey.

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi | Updated: November 20, 2019 6:29:38 pm
Police officers asked me: Andhe ho toh protest mein aaye kyun? Shashi Bhushan Pandey, who is visually impaired, claimed he was lathicharged.

Shashi Bhushan Pandey, the visually challenged student of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) who was lathicharged Monday during the protest march to Parliament, Tuesday claimed he was asked by policemen why he came to the protest if he was blind.

The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) and the JNU Visually Challenged Students’ Forum, meanwhile, condemned the police action on Pandey.

“When students were dispersing, somebody told me the street lights had been switched off. Some friends gathered around me to take me to one side. Everyone believed I would be safe after that, but that didn’t happen,” he said, addressing a press conference called by the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) on campus.

Pandey was taken to the AIIMS Trauma Centre Monday. “I was hit with lathis. When I told them I am blind, a police officer told me, ‘andhe ho toh protest mein aaye kyun (if you are blind, why did you come for the protest)?’,” he claimed, adding he was also trampled upon by police.

In a statement, the NPRD “strongly condemned the brutal violence perpetrated by Delhi Police on students and teachers”.

“A visually impaired student was subjected to indiscriminate beating. This, despite him repeatedly pointing out to police that he is visually impaired,” they said. “This calls for sensitisation of the police force at all levels on disability, and action should be taken against the officers responsible.”

The JNU Visually Challenged Students’ Forum is set to protest Wednesday. The forum claimed Pandey was “not assisted by police personnel in seeking medical treatment for injuries”.

Meanwhile, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh asked in the Upper House: “Who’s that General Dyer who stomped on the chest of Shashi Bhushan, who can’t see. When we talk about the Jallianwala Bagh incident, we refer to British atrocities. Who’s the General Dyer in our midst today? Paramilitary forces are being unleashed on JNU students.”

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