After two days of fiery protests in Barrackpore over bad roads and water woes, residents are now claiming police victimisation.
This comes on the heels of the Ministry of Works and Transport warning that the police are investigating and appropriate legal action would be taken after roads were damaged during the fiery protests earlier this week.
Resident Kishan Maharaj, who operates a business at his home, said police searched several homes in Barrackpore and seized video footage on Tuesday.
He claimed that around 2 to 3 pm about 30 heavily armed police officers stormed his home with no warrant in search of his DVR system.
Complaining that some of the officers wore no masks, ignored the COVID-19 guidelines and walked through his house with their dirty shoes, Maharaj is now fearful that he and his family, including his elderly parents, have been exposed to the Coronavirus.
Although the protests were close to his home, he said he did not participate in the action.
He recalled, “When the police came I told them they could take the recordings but leave my camera and DVR. The officers started to buff me and rough up my 70-year-old father. They did not want to hear anything I had to say or anyone else had to say.”
He said the officers remained at his home for about 20 minutes.
“It was 20 minutes of torture we did not have any dealings with the police we have no criminals living with us and we are not involved in any criminal activities. I see protests all over the country this is the first time in my life I seeing the police treat people so. I was not involved but I am in support of my fellow villagers because for far too long we have suffered and we have not gotten any help with the bad roads and no water. I felt targeted and victimised and I don’t know if the police are using this to oppress we the poor people of Barrackpore,” he claimed.
Maharaj claimed while the police were “flashing around papers” he was not shown a warrant.
Saying that the police acted as though a murderer was living at his house, he said he decided to stand up.
Saying that her law-abiding and hard-working citizens, he said the villagers were amazed by the police’s actions.
Maharaj said his lawyers have since written to the acting Commissioner of Police about the matter and asking him to intervene.
“Because we reach a state in this country we are being bullied. We can’t get a chance to do nothing, you cannot stand up for your rights or nothing so they may be using this state of emergency to victimise people,” he said.
Another resident, who gave his name as Randy, said the police conducted a road traffic exercise at Soumanie Trace and gave him a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt.
Randy said he believes he was targeted because he was one of the protesters.
A senior police source confirmed that officers executed warrants at homes in Barrackpore after residents were hesitant to comply with their requests for the footage.