A jaipur Based Poet Bappadittya Sarkar on Wednesday night was Driven to the Santacruz Police Station without his Knowledge by an Uber Driver, who had heard him talking over the phone to a friend about Anti-CAA, NRC Protest.
Sarkar apparently narrated the incident to an activist, Kavita Krishnan who shared screenshots of his messages on Twitter. Sarkar, who arrived in Mumbai to attend Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2020 and was travelling with a friend to Kurla from Mumbai Bagh.
Sarkar Said, “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 the previous day, people’s discomfort with Laal Salaam and how we could make Jaipur’s protests more effective. 10 to 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 realised he had gotten me to a police station.
When Sarkar asked the cab driver why he had brought him to the police station, he says the driver had responded by saying “Tum desh barbaad kardoge aur hum dekhtey rahenge? Main kahin aur le jaa sakta tha tujhe, shukr mana police station laaya hun”.
Sarkar says, “The police asked me why I am a communist, they asked me which countries communism is practiced in, which are the poets whose work I read, they wanted to read my poems. Then they started going through my WhatsApp and my contacts. I protested, asking how they can go through my contacts like that. They said, “We are doing it as part of the enquiry.”
Sarkar add, “The police personnel who were there were saying things like, “Do you think those who are protesting in Shaheen Bagh are doing so without money? Can people sit-in and protest for so long without getting money? Who is financing them?” The cops said this. They kept asking me for my father’s salary. It was almost like they were sure that somebody is funding me. I was finally let go from the police station around 1:30 am.”
When Media contacted the Santacruz police, a senior officer said no further action was required as none of them filed a complaint.
And when asked to Sarkar he said he didn’t want to press charges against the taxi driver. “My fight is against a way of thinking. I am fighting injustice and the atmosphere of fear that is being created in the country. My experience should be a wake-up call,” he said.