Anti-CAA protests: Poet shares horrific experience; ‘deshbhakt’ Uber driver threatens him
Poet, Bappaditya Sarkar had gone to Mumbai to take part in anti-CAA protest. On his way back, he went through a scary experience when his Uber driver took him to police station and threatened him
Social activist and secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association Kavita Krishnan has shared on Twitter a harrowing experience of a poet from Rajasthan which conveys how scary the situation has become in our country due to the steep political divide the country is now facing over the new Citizenship Amendment Act.
Poet, Bappaditya Sarkar who belongs to Jaipur had gone to Mumbai to attend the protest against Citizenship Amendment Act. After attending the protest, he was returning by taxi. During his journey, he happened to chat with his friend on phone about the massive protests against the Citizenship Act across the country.
Listening to his anti-CAA views, the cab driver took him to the police station on the pretext of going to an ATM and asked the cops to arrest him.
Here is the entire experience of the poet Bappadittya Sarkar which he shared with Kavita Krishnan:
“I was at Silver Beach, Juhu, last night, and booked a cab around 10:30- 10:45 to go back to Kurla, where I’m staying.
As I got in the cab, I called a friend of mine and we were talking about protest cultures in different cities, what happened at Shaheen Bagh yesterday, people’s discomfort with Laal Salaam and how we could make Jaipur’s protests more effective.
10-20 minutes into the conversation, my Uber driver stopped and asked if he could use the ATM, I enthusiastically agreed. Minutes later, he came back with two policemen and that’s when I realized he had gotten me to a police station.
The policemen asked me where I was from and why I was carrying a dafli, I told them I’m from Jaipur and that I was sloganeering at Mumbai Bagh earlier in the afternoon. The cab driver said “Sir aap isko andar lo, ye desh jalane ki baat kar raha hai, bol raha hai main communist hoon, hum Mumbai mein Shaheen Bagh bana deinge, mere pass poori recording hai.”
I told the policemen to listen to the recording and arrest me if they find me saying “Hum desh jala deinge” or anything that is inciting or can be perceived as anti-national, I turned to the Uber driver and said, “sir aapko kis baat ka bura laga, ye batao, aap police station kyu le aye ho itni si batt pe?”
He responded “Tum desh barbaad kardoge aur hum dekhtye raheinge? Main kahin aur le jaa skta tha tujhe, shukr mana police station laaya hun.”
It was at that moment that I felt unsettled, some sense of fear set in and stayed throughout the night. But I texted Rahul and a few other friends and sent them my live location.
The Uber driver kept yelling at me throughout. I was, then questioned in the police station, they asked me about my ideology and people I read. And other absurd questions and they asked him to give his statement and took mine, which included unnecessary details like my father’s salary, and how I sustain myself without a job. The kind of poems I write, my social media handles.
I had come to Bombay because I was invited to read at Kala Ghoda, and they insisted on me giving them the email of the organiser, which I refused but agreed to concede the first name. They also kept asking me why I was carrying a dafli.
At around 1, Comrade S Gohil came and I was let go shortly after. however, the police was polite throughout the course of this inquiry and advised me not carry my dafli around and/or wear a red scarf because “abhi mahaul kharab hai, kuccch bhi ho skta hai”
But I was still feeling unsafe, so my friend and I got our luggage and moved to a different place to stay.”
Published: 06 Feb 2020, 2:53 PM