Asked to Sign Surety Bonds, Mumbai’s Anti-CAA Protesters Demand Withdrawal of Cases

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Police sources told the media that more notices would be served with regard to these protests in the coming days. — File photo

Police have served show-cause notices to 26 people for taking part in agitations in megapolis

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – The Mumbai Police have served show-cause notices to 26 people, who had taken part in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and attack on students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in January, asking them to sign bonds promising lawful behaviour against sureties ranging between Rs 1 lakh to Rs 50 lakh.

Those who have been booked told Clarion India that these cases were filed against a large number of protesters but show-cause notices were so far served against only 26 activists. The protesters said they would approach the state government for withdrawing the cases as it had done last month in the case of Aarey protests.

“We will talk to the government demanding the withdrawal of the cases as they have withdrawn cases in the Aarey forest protest cases. We have talked to leaders of some political parties who have told us they would take up the cudgels for us. NCP leader Supriya Sule also assured us of help in withdrawing the cases. We will soon meet the government,” said Mumbai-based prominent activist Feroze Mithiborwala.

He said that notices were served to him with regard to two protests–one related to the Gateway of India protests against mob attack on JNU and another one related to the Mumbai Bagh sit-in against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

“When the JNU was attacked in January, Mumbai students held a historical protest at the Gateway of India. At 2 am, the police had come and the SP had told me that the protest was illegal. I told him that since the Delhi police were not fulfilling their duty and the High Court and Supreme Court were silent, we would have to take to streets to save the country and the Constitution,” recollected Feroze about the Gateway of India protest, adding that an FIR was lodged in this case and he was named along with many others.

In the second case with regard to the anti-CAA sit-in in Mumbai’s Nagpada, Feroze said that many cases were filed in this regard. “But I was booked under Section 107. The police tried to prove that I was the main organiser of the sit-in. The police asked me to give them a guarantee that I will not hold any protest. They asked me to sign a bond. And If I violate the bond, I would face externment,” he said.

He said that he was called for hearing in regard to anti-CAA protests in February and March. Now, he will be called with regard to the Gateway of India protest.

Another activist, Guddi, who is associated with Yusuf Mehr Ali Yuva Biradri, told Clarion India that the notices were served to her with regard to both anti-CAA and JNU attack protests. With regard to anti-CAA protests at Mumbai Bagh sit-in, she is the only woman who was booked along with two other men–Feroze and Ali Bhujani. In February-March, an FIR was filed against her alleging that she had occupied the road illegally. On June 18, she and Feroze were served with notices.

“Every four or five days, protesters are being served with notices. We don’t know whose turn will come next. So far, many people were served surety notices in which Rs 1 lakh to Rs 50 lakhs were demanded,” said Guddi, a resident of Kalyan.

Police sources told the media that more notices would be served with regard to these protests in the coming days.

“We will send show-cause notices to others as well. We have asked them to provide an explanation for participating in the protests and if they do not provide satisfactory responses, we will ask to fill the bonds,” a police officer was quoted by Mumbai Mirror as saying.

These notices are being served from Mumbai’s three police stations—MRA Marg, Colaba and Tardeo. Prominent activists expressed grave concerns over the Mumbai police action.

At a press meet at Delhi’s Press Club on Thursday, Swaraj Abhiyan chief Yogendra Yadav raised this issue. He said he was present at the JNU gate when a mob attacked the campus. He said that while those accused of the attack had not been arrested or even been questioned, Mumbai protesters were being victimised.

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