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Millennium Post

Judging by cover

Judging by cover

It is a matter of real concern that a poet in Mumbai was quizzed by Mumbai Police on irrelevant subjects after being reported by his Uber driver who overheard the poet's conversation on the phone that mentioned the citizenship amendment act. Bappadittya Sarkar was travelling in an Uber when the cab driver arbitrarily took him to a police station on suspicion of being a communist and talking of burning the country. As ridiculous as it may have sounded, the driver even claimed of having a recording that proved his claim. While the police listened to the recording and found nothing inciting about the conversation that Sarkar had with his friend over the phone, the police did not simply let Sarkar go. Quizzing Sarkar about his ideology, kind of literature he reads, name of countries with communist establishments, his source of income, his father's profession, etc., the police wanted to identify his background in a bizarre violation of Sarkar's rights. There was no case for Sarkar to be there for quizzing anyway. The Police advising Sarkar to not roam around with a red scarf and a 'dafli' is also irrational. The very first instance of a cab driver reporting Sarkar to the police ought to be noted. Mere discussion over Shaheen Bagh and related anti-CAA protests got him to the Santa Cruz police station. This speaks a lot about the kind of environment that has emerged in present times. While Mumbai Police maintained that it was just inquiry and no case has been registered, the fact that Sarkar was quizzed by police rather than reaching his destination in the Uber he took tells a lot about country's atmosphere in the backdrop of anti-CAA protests. While the Uber driver himself maintained that he only took Sarkar to the Police and not anywhere else, it is to be noted that there are worse things that could happen. Sarkar could have been manhandled or even lynched — all because he was speaking about protests against the new citizenship law. Sarkar's experience gives an insight on how sensitively polarised the country has become at the grassroots. The incident tells how an individual's clothes, words or anything can become an object of identification and subsequent categorisation. The incident reminds one of the depleting diversity of views as well as rising intolerance that perseveres to sideline anything or anyone who fails to conform to the Hindu Nationalist ideology.

(image taken from asianage.com)

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