This is a true story. This incident happened in train moving from Deoghar (Bihar) to Howrah on 28th Nov 2009
Date: 28-29th Nov
Time : 2:30 AM
Place: Sleeper coach of express
As me and my bro-in-law Ravi Da crouched in our sleeper coach seats further, our coach door opened again giving way to freezing winds. As I tried to close it again literally shaking with cold, it was clear that we will not be able to get any sleep tonight.
Earlier, as me and Ranu were returning from her brother’s wedding, we missed our train to Howrah. We had a connecting flight the next morning and luckily Ravi Da had reservation in 3rd AC in another train. We had to board it anyway. After settling Ranu in ac coach, me and ravi da moved to the next sleeper with side berth next to the doors.
It was freezing outside with temperature probably going below 50C. Wind, accentuated by moving train, was piercing our bodies despite we had three layers of clothing and kept the shoes on.
After two hours, we both knew that it was a futile fight with the freezing cold and we just started chatting to get through the long night ahead.
And suddenly I saw something which I thought could only be seen at Guantanamo prison–a thin, 30 something handcuffed man was nearly completely stripped except the bare minimum and was being pushed from other side of the coach by the policemen. As they brought him to the area near the door I could listen to the happiness in their voice in catching their “Juta Chor”.
I can’t believe it even now that someone can actually survive in that cold with nothing on the body. But my belief was going to take many shocks tonight as the show has just begun.
One policeman pushed him near the sink and opened both the doors. As the crosswinds rushed through, i literally started shaking
The chor by itself shrunk into a blob as his body tried to revolt for its survival. It actually looked as if Kevin Carter’s famous photograph came alive in front of me (link: http://whereinsoever.wordpress.com/2007/03/07/ethical-photography-the-case-of-kevin-carter/)
And this is when policemen decided to "ramp it up" a little bit.
Policeman 1 filled a mug of freezing water from the sink and threatened our Juta Chor –“Saale bolta hai ya daalun”
I really thought the man would die if the water is poured on him…I even thought that he might even prefer jumping from the moving train rather than die from cold.
But to my relief the policeman did not go through the act.
"Don't they have human rights laws against this? " - I asked with a innocence of wide-eyed 6 year old. To which Ravi Da gave a smirk which could probably classify as - "This is India Dude....where have you been all your life? "
As the night passed the policemen continued to press him to confess the crime…they threatened to hit him with the rifle butt. ...abused him....deprived him of a bidi which he found on the floor..
To be fair to the policemen, they gave him tea in the end probably fearing that the guy will die.
Once arriving upon Howrah , they kicked him out of the coach where some other policemen also joined to share the credit of catching the chor.
And all this left me thinking –
Who is the real criminal?
The juta chor ?
The policemen - who have just committed a crime for which they will never get punished?
Me? - Who looked helplessly without uttering a single word?
OR The system which believes in punishment rather than rehabilitation