How Indian man Rahul Dubey turned 'cult hero' in the US protests

Dubey described the scenes as "pure terror"

rahul-dubey Rahul Dubey

On Tuesday, as protests continued raging in the United States against the custodial killing of African American man George Floyd in Minneapolis, an Indian man emerged hero, giving refuge to over 70 protesters in his home as the police waited outside. A group of protesters were pinned down by the police at Swann Street in Washington DC, when Rahul Dubey opened his home for them to spend the night till the curfew ended. Dubey has been identified as a first generation Indian immigrant who runs a healthcare service. 

AP reported that protesters were out after Washington’s 7pm curfew, and about to be arrested, when Dubey frantically waved them into his rowhouse. According to the agency, police chased them as far as the entrance, and while inside, pandemonium ensued as some of the screaming protesters hit by pepper spray sought relief for their eyes with milk and water. Dubey described the scene as 10 minutes of "pure terror". 

Dubey told NPR: "They unleashed sheer hell on peaceful protesters right outside my stoop. I don't know, I just flung the door open. And I just kept yelling, 'Come in. Get in the house, get in the house. Literally I can hear skulls being cracked," he said.

USA Today quoted Thimmesch, a protester, as saying that police officers staked out outside Dubey's house for hours and were harassing him and the demonstrators inside. "He kept coming out and saying, 'No, no I've invited these young people in,'" Thimmesch said, adding that police were "trying to invent exigent circumstances to enter the premises", reported the publication.

"I'm at a house in DC after being pepper sprayed and knocked down by the police. There are about 100 of us in a house surrounded by cops. All the neighbours on this street opened their doors and are tending to protestors. The cops corralled us on this street and sprayed us down," Allison Lane, one of the protestors, tweeted.

Dubey told NBC News: "I don't think there was even a choice in what I did, to be honest. The crowd just came racing through like a tornado. ... We had to keep the door open and just kept grabbing people and pulling them in. It's the same that you would if it's a storm, and you would have let anyone into your home, I know that," he told NBC News.

The protesters left in the morning after the curfew ended, but not before Dubey's actions turned him into a local hero. "Rahul saved lives last night," one Black Lives Matter activist wrote on Twitter. "He ended this with an inspirational speech about not giving up and keeping up the peaceful fight. What a guy. Thank you Rahul."

Writing for Esquire, Dubey said that his father came to the US as a 19-year-old with just eight dollars in his pocket. "I looked around and saw kids from age 20 to 50 in the house scattered on all three floors and the backyard, and they were safe. They were active. They were asking questions. They were solving problems in little groups, and they are hunkered down here until 6 am. The police have tried to pull them out through trickery like five or six times," he wrote. 

What is happening in the US?

For about a week now, properties worth billions of dollars have been destroyed in the US, and rioters have damaged commercial centers, and public places and looted from shops and malls, in angry response to the killing of Floyd, a 46-year-old man who was pinned to the ground in Minneapolis last week by a white police officer who kneeled on his neck as he gasped for breath.

Trump announced on Monday that he was dispatching "thousands and thousands" of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults, and the wanton destruction of property.

In Washington DC, the national capital, protestors burnt a historic church and damaged some of the prime properties and historic place like national monument and Lincoln Memorial. Trump describing the violence in Washington DC as "total disgrace".

Thousands of protestors continued with their demonstrations across cities in the US, in civic-disobeyance of the curfew that has been imposed in more than 150 cities in the country including the national capital.

State of emergencies have been declared in as many as six states and at least 13 major cities when reports last came in. As many as 67,000 National Guard troops have been deployed across the country. The Wall Street Journal said that this was the largest number ever activated in the US.