My Time In A Tihar Jail Cell And How The Cops Treated Me – By Kanhaiya Kumar

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The three-day remand was coming to an end. So far I had not been allowed to meet any of my friends and colleagues. I was told that I would not be produced in court. A special court was set up for me in the office of the deputy commissioner of police (DCP), South Delhi.

The judge came there.

In the ‘court hearing’, the police asked for two more days to take my voice samples. The judge looked at my lawyer. Even before he could speak, I said I was ready to give them the voice samples. The police had no proof against me nor would they ever find any. The samples would be incontestable. Everyone could see once and for all that I had not done any sloganeering. Later in my cell I realized I had been naive. It wasn’t wise to have so much faith in the police when they were acting on someone else’s bidding. Nonetheless I gave the voice sample.

By now the police on duty had become very friendly with me. They even brought fruits for me and we’d sit together and eat them. During this time, I saw the hierarchical structure of the police from within. In the presence of the inspector everyone did ‘sir-sir’, but once he left, it was the sub-inspector who was called sir. Yet it was the constables who had to bear all expenses. The fruits, tea and snacks, all were arranged by them.
Sometimes they asked me if I’d go out and say that I was beaten up in custody. I couldn’t understand their concern. Why would they care if I did such a thing? After all countless people left the police station with such stories. Only much later did I come to understand that they were seeing me on TV each day, that I was the burning issue, fought over and debated hotly on primetime TV. What I said about them would count.

Occasionally a guard would ask, ‘Kanhaiya, when you’re released you won’t forget us, will you?’ They said, Kanhaiya, you wait and watch, one day you’ll be a big man. It’s a strange feeling to realize you’ve become famous (or maybe infamous) while sitting inside prison, locked away from the world.

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