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Arrests in the Dead of Night and Dangerous “badinaz”


The CID coming to arrest Rama Valayden and his colleagues at 2:00 in the morning – on whatever pretext – is worse than unacceptable. The Police Commissioner must immediately come forward and publicly announce an end to this practice. It must stop.  As Minister of the Interior, Pravind Jugnauth should use his constitutional powers to put out a policy statement against this kind of arrest, ban it completely except in the most extreme of circumstances.

Mr. Valayden and three colleagues are being investigated for offences under the Quarantine Act and the Public Gathering Act following their organization of a small, peaceful demonstration Sunday morning in support of the Palestinian people. (This was the day before the Solidarite Morisyin avek Lepep Palestinyin’s demonstration in front of Government House, yesterday.) The question that has to be put to the Police Commissioner is why did the CID not interview the four men during office hours? What is the need to arrest them in the dead of night? Or at all, for that matter? At the demonstration itself, were Rama Valayden and is colleagues even warned that they were infringing some law? Or not? 

Now, DCP Heman Jangi, head of the CID, comes on to MBC-TV last night, 17 May, and says one of Rama Valayden’s lawyers phoned him, personally, twice, at around one-o-clock in the morning, first to confirm with him whether two of Mr. Valayden’s colleagues had in fact been arrested and were being questioned, which he confirmed, and then a bit later to say that Rama Valayden requested that he also be arrested by the Police at 2:00 in the morning, too. So, Mr. Jangi tells us that he did the needful. As if Rama Valayden is his hierarchical senior.

But, what kind of a reason is this for the CID arresting Mr. Valayden? If Rama Valayden wants to be a hero, why should the police chiefs co-operate with his political ambition? Who does Mr. Jangi take orders from now? Are we all Alice in Wonderland? And why did he arrest the other two in the middle of the night in the first place?

The whole event is both daft and dangerous. It is as though both Rama Valayden and the Police seem to be “badine”. And this, on the back of the serious issue of the colonization of the Palestinian people, who live under military occupation and a state of siege. And with, here in Mauritius, the encroachment of an increasingly repressive Jugnauth State. And we have to sort through this kind of “badinaz” in order to take a position? Let us explain what we mean by “badinaz”.

The worrying thing is that there is some kind of two-way-street thing going on here, and we do not understand what it is. Are there some double agents at work doing we-don’t-know-what? You might think DCP Jangi is making this all up about the lawyer phoning. Maybe? But then again, in his public statements, Rama Valayden makes a point, again and again, of claiming, full of pride and hubris, to have “a network” within the police. He constantly thanks the police in “his” personal police “network”, too. They are in all branches and at all levels, he constantly brags, these police officers who are “with him” politically (“ar nu”). This network constantly informs him, he claims, of what is going on “inside” the institution of the Police, warns him of events to come, and generally co-operates with him. Rama Valayden even seemed to be anticipating arrests following the Palestine demonstration, and requested that he be the one arrested. It seems that this time, however, one of “his” men is also a “Jangi man”, or some kind of double agent? Or, alternatively, that Jangi has put into the public sphere what, had there not been an outcry, would have remained a secret between him and Valayden? How are we, the people, supposed to know? What’s going on?

We cannot control the “badinaz” of populist politicians like Valayden, but, in LALIT, what we can do is to call on the Police Commissioner to end this kind of night-time arrest at once. Put a stop to it. And we call on the Minister of the Interior to make it policy not to conduct arrests at night except in exceptional circumstances.

18 May 2021