Will file counter FIR against UP police, say Samvidhan Bachao Desh Bachao Abhiyan Uttar Pradesh leaders
Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — Releasing the report on the Uttar Pradesh government’s brutal police crackdown on anti-CAA protesters, activists group Samvidhan Bachao Desh Bachao Abhiyan Uttar Pradesh (SBDBA-UP) announced here on Tuesday that it would file a counter-FIR against the UP police. Terming December 19 last as a ‘Black Day’ in the state’s history, the Abhiyan organised its first public hearing here to present firsthand accounts from the victims.
The report titled ‘Increasing State Brutality in UP — January 2020’ carried the testimonies from 15 victims.
Speaking to the media after releasing the report, Supreme Court advocate and the founder of the Human Rights Law Network, Colin Gonsalves said FIRs must be filed against the UP police. He said the report contained clear and factual statements from the victims and these could be used as FIR. He suggested that the report should be dispatched to the UP director general of police as a complaint and then turned it into a petition.
Referring to the Lalita Kumari case, he said there were clear instructions from the Supreme Court for registering FIRs against guilty police personnel. “We should take the cue from Manipur where victims filed FIRs against the police in relation to fake encounters resulting in more than 1,000 killings, he said, and added that it would restrain the police force in the state.
In his opening remarks, Prof Ramesh Dixit, chairman of the Samvidhan Bachao Desh Bachao Abhiyan, said UP was now in an era of undeclared Emergency – the state witnessing state terror on an unprecedented scale to crush every democratic and peaceful voice. The Yogi Adityanath government masterminded the Lucknow violence, and was now seeking to shift the blame on anti-CAA-NRC-NPR protesters.
“The BJP government-RSS agents swiftly infiltrated the ranks of the protesters, provoked violence and sought to shift the blame on genuine protesters, and the state government unleashed state-sponsored brutality.”
VICTIMS MOSTLY POOR MUSLIMS
Prof Dixit noted that, for the first time since Independence, India witnessed a scenario of the government confiscating properties in the guise of checking violence. “Most of the arrested, harassed, intimidated are poor, the Muslims, or those who stood in support of Muslims,” he said.
BLACK DAY IN UP
Abhiyan convener, Ameeque Jamei said December 19, 2019 will remain as a Black Day in the state’s history. The date epitomized the sick psyche of the Yogi Adityanath-led government that “subverted every democratic norm and constitutional tenet.” Even on January 13, the police denied permission for a peaceful protest fast at Gandhi Statue in Lucknow, he said.
Jamei also alleged that a peaceful protest was infiltrated by the BJP-RSS elements to unleash planned and systematically-organised violence, with 23 innocents killed in police firing across the state. The Abhiyan was instrumental in getting bail for many of the arrested protesters and extending other kinds of support to them and their families.
The Abhiyan’s legal team member, advocate Asma Izzat, said the police filed more than 1,200 FIRs. Of these, only 10 to 12 were against non-Muslims. This betrayed their communal mindset. Police slapped serious sections of the CrPC including invocation of attempt-to-murder provision against most of victims. Each of them faced seven to 18 charges, she added.
During the hearing, many victims narrated their ordeal. The 68-year-old Mohammad Nasim said he was out of his home to buy medicine. Suddenly, cops started thrashing him mercilessly, and with little regard for this age. “They (police) abused me and did not give me even a drop of water in the police station,” he said.
Mohammad Kaleem, a rickshaw-puller, said the police called him a “Bangladeshi infiltrator” and beat him up in the police station. He was not at the site of the protests but some plainclothes policemen picked him up and asked for his name. Many other victims also narrated their harrowing tales.
Mohammad Naim recounted his struggle to save his 15-year-old son who was hit by a police bullet. He said his son did not get proper medical treatment despite serious injuries in police firing. He was shot from the back.
Jury member, former MP and CPI (M) leader Shubhanshi Ali, said the police unleashed its terror after CM Yogi’s ‘revenge’ speech. Cops took it as the hint. Before that there was no violence. “We should identify guilty police officers and collect evidence to make our case strong,” she added.
Another jury member, former IPS officer Vikas N Narian said, “We should demand repeal of Section 144 of the Cr Procedure Code (CrPC) which empowered magistrates to issue orders in urgent cases of nuisance or when a danger is apprehended. Non-BJP governments other states should try and abolish this section in the criminal law, which has been arbitrarily imposed by successive governments to suppress democratic dissent. Section 144 was incorporated by the colonial masters to suppress our freedom movement,” he recalled.
Noted journalist Qurban Ali stressed the importance of filing FIRs against the police. He said this government has been attempting to implement the theory of RSS fountainhead MS Golwalkar, which branded the minorities as second-class citizens; and CAA was its clear example, he said.
EXODUS OF BENGALI MUSLIMS FROM UP
The other members of the jury and activists from UP also spoke. They pointed out that CM Yogi Adityanath had, in public speeches, spoken of revenge and intimidation. After this, senior police officials took to the streets, threatening, beating, harassing people and damaging properties. Because of these threats, Lucknow alone witnessed the exodus of 300 Bengali speaking labourers and hotel industry personnel, a jury member said.