The role of the police has been more to patronise a section of Muslims, than to protect Human Rights of an activist
India’s secular polity and activism command that while human rights of a few are highlighted, many who do not conform to their idea of secularism are deliberately neglected. This is exactly what Nandini, an animal rights activist and cow enthusiast experienced recently in Bengaluru.
Nandini (45) is a software engineer by profession and an animal rights activist by passion. In October 2017, Nandini, along with a couple of her friends, noticed cows being taken to a secluded lane in the area and being slaughtered. The area is known for many illegal beef shops. Nandini and her friends went to Thalaghattapura police station around 6.30 PM and lodged a complaint.
The Police assured them that they will take necessary action and that 15-20 policemen have already been deployed to save the cattle in that area. The Police also claimed that all their vehicles were out on duty and hence Nandini was asked to take two police constables in her car to show the exact spot where the cows were being transported. When they reached the area, a large crowd of Muslims had already gathered but there was no sign of the policemen as promised.
The mob got into a frenzy and started hurling concrete blocks at her vehicle. The two constables in her car stepped out as soon as the first block hit her vehicle and did nothing. The mob shouted pro-Pakistan slogans and continued raining blocks and stones on the car from all sides. Nandini somehow managed to extricate herself, but not before suffering injuries to her head and right shoulder. Her car was badly damaged. Nandini further said that when she returned to the police station, the sub-inspector shouted at them, refused to take pictures of them as proof of the attack and instead blamed them for the attack as their vehicle had supposedly hit a petty shop of a Muslim. She feels that she was set up in a trap to teach her a lesson so that no one ventures out for such activism in the name of safeguarding the lives of cows.
Nandini lodged another complaint but accused that the police have watered down the IPC sections. The government refused to take a stand lest it might antagonize its vote bank. The irony of this attack on Nandini is the fact that none of the self-acclaimed animal rights activists/organisations or women rights organisations came forward to her aid. Such partisan attitude, albeitad nauseum, of such organisations exposes their hollow claims of genuine concern towards animals or human rights.
This act of the police and the apathy of the administration are in gross violation of Human Rights charter of India which subscribes to the Fundamental Rights granted in the Constitution. Article 14 of the Constitution guarantees equality before the law and includes the equal subjugation of all persons to the authority of law, as well as equal treatment of persons in similar circumstances irrespective of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. Nandini’s harassment at the hands of the Muslim mob, the lackadaisical treatment meted out to her and partisan conduct of the police and administration towards the culprits are in gross violation of Article 14 and in effect violate the Human Rights charter too.