In a country where child abuse and poverty continue to peak, abuse of power is something that ruins the situation even more. Normally, a person in power should stand up for lesser privileged ones, but in our society, the opposite happens.
Hashim Kaleem Tried to Use his Power to Stand Up Against Cruelty the Local Police Was Doing Against Child Workers
Here’s how Hashim narrated the incident:
So on my way back from work yesterday, I stopped at Barkat Market. Barkat market, as most of you might know, is where a lot of out-of-school children work on daily wages which are as low as 20 Rs per day. I saw one of these kids washing a Police Response Units car for good twenty minutes. The car was already clearly washed but a police officer kept asking the child to continue with the cleaning. I went up to the kid and asked if he was being paid for it and obviously the answer was “no this is a sarkari car”. I then went up to the police guy asking him very politely, why they weren’t going to pay him.
Here the Facebook post:
So on my way back from work yesterday, I stopped at Barkat Market. Barkat market, as most of you might know, is where a…
Posted by Hashim Kaleem on Wednesday, May 9, 2018
I told him that these kids already make too little and as police it is their responsibility to help them out as opposed to make it worse. There were three of them and they flared up all of a sudden. They started pushing and abusing me. One of them said ” it’s a crime to question the police and that I was an aam aadmi” (quoting verbatim). They then tore off my shirt, slapped me and pushed me into their vehicle and took me to the police station. In the car, their main guy literally just tore off a part of his shirt himself and said to me that I will be punished for this. At the police station, they continued to harass me and kept threatening that they will file an FIR.
Their SHO came an hour later and listened to my side of the story and about my work after which he apologized and let me go. He also asked me if I had done A-Levels .
This is just one glimpse of the very ugly side of this country. I’m way too privileged and this was the treatment that I got. Now imagine someone else asking a simple question like I did – someone who hasn’t done “A level” – what would they do to him ? And imagine what they do to those kids who work 15 hours a day and make 20-100 Rs a day.
This is the number plate of the police’s car.
Now This Doesn’t End Here, Folks!
Hashim posted an update on the incident:
I was called to the police station just now and got to meet the 4 police officers involved in Tuesday’s incident. They have been summoned for an inquiry tomorrow and are trying to avoid that. They gave me the “option” that they will apologize at the police station. They asked me to withdraw my complain but the problem is – I never complained to anyone so I don’t know who of you made this happen. I really appreciate that. I’m happy to know that there are people who direct their influence to do good.
I went to Barkat Market last night and did a quick survey with the shop-keepers about other incidents of police’s abuse of power. They shared many stories – these guys don’t pay for anything. They get massages from the poor guys for long hours without any payment. I think it’s best that these guys apologize to all the workers of the market so that those extremely impoverished and powerless people know that they have at least some rights. I don’t have any delusions that this will eliminate the chances of abuse of power but I think it might make it slightly better and perhaps more people will speak up this way. Police instills fear into the minds of these innocent workers.
I have also decided to fund the education of the kid who was washing their car and I would like to hear from friends who might be interested in perhaps setting up a small fund that can support the child workers of Barkat Market. I don’t know how to execute that but I am sure it won’t be difficult.
I would love to hear from friends about what’s the right way forward. I have received so many messages of love and support from so many people – it was overwhelming and not so easy to process but my belief that collectively we can do a lot more, has been strengthened! If any of you has been involved in making the inquiry happen – please message me, it will help me get a better idea of what’s going to happen next. I will be grateful !
Most importantly, I would request each one of you to be more aware of your surroundings. This abuse of power isn’t new and is widespread. We have just gotten used to it and have become comfortable. Don’t be comfortable with it! Please!
The message Hashim conveyed in the end is something we all need to play a role in – to be aware of our power and do something good for those who need it the most.