Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI – While condemning the alleged police brutalities in the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, civil society groups, political leaders and activists on Tuesday quoted sources to say that as many as 27 persons including an 8-year-child were killed in police firings on CAA protesters and related incidents in the state alone.
They condemned UP deputy chief minister and the police for dragging the name of Popular Front of India (PFI) for the violence. Addressing a joint press conference here, they said the police atrocity reports coming from India’s largest state should have been of grave concern to all, and the police unleashed a reign of terror in the state.
Quoting different sources, they said at least 27 people have been killed so far, most of them due to police gunshots, in the state alone.
Videos and other evidenced showed the police indulged in vandalism and used indiscriminate violence against peaceful protesters.
Demanding an end to state repression, police violence and targeting of people’s organisations in the state, the activists said several reports from Muslim-dominated localities about police atrocities such as obstructing peaceful protests, vandalising houses, shops, offices and mosques, damaging vehicles, firing at innocent people, unleashing violence against the masses and falsely implicating them in criminal cases came in.
“An atmosphere of terror and fear is being created by the Yogi Adithyanath government with the ulterior motive of crushing the agitations and taking revenge on the minorities”, they said.
“The BJP government is using the current situation as an opportunity to suppress all voices of dissent and people’s initiatives that are against the divisive agenda of the Sangh Parivar. Social activists, journalists, advocates and community leaders were being rounded up and harassed in different places, booked for serious offences under sections of the National Security Act and anti-terror law,” they alleged.
Shrinivas Raghavan, national president of the Lok Raj Sanghatan, said the UP Police is targeting the PFI to divert attention of the public from its alleged crimes and violence. “Now, in order to divert public attention, they (state government and police) are fixing the blame on innocents in the state.”
Front leader Parvez Ahmad said the Popular Front of India was working openly in some parts of UP under an ad-hoc committee and there was no record of any subversive activity about them so far. “However, the UP Government is misusing its police force to disturb its activities by arresting their leaders and imposing terror charges in order to tarnish their image in the eyes of people,” he said.
The state convener of PFI, Wasim Ahmed and members Qari Ashfaque and Mohammed Nadeem, who were arrested earlier from Lucknow, were later charged under serious provisions and depicted before the media as the masterminds of the violence.
Two of them were brought before the media by the police after covering their face to give a terror shade to the whole episode, he said, and added that this police action seemed to be a follow up to the “baseless allegations”levelled by state deputy CM that PFI was behind the CAA-NRC-related violence.
“We are convinced after a direct inquiry that none of them was involved in any violence in Lucknow or elsewhere. It looks ridiculous that the status of being the “mastermind” is being imposed not only on these PFI leaders, but also on many other arrested activists, by the police,” he claimed.
Bhai Tej Singh, national president of the Ambedkar Samaj Party said the ongoing movement against the CAA was a secular struggle but the BJP was trying to give it a communal colour. Among others, Bhanu Partap Singh, national president of the Rashtriya Janhit Sangharsh Party, Adv. Mahmood Pracha, president of the South Asian Minority Lawyers Association and Dr. Tasleem Ahmad Rahmani, national secretary of the Social Democratic Party of India also addressed the media.
They said people joined hands regardless of all their differences and came out in large numbers across the country against the “openly discriminatory and divisive” CAA and the plan for a nationwide NRC. However, only in BJP-ruled states did they meet with brute force from the police. In UP, due to an information blockade and prohibitory orders, the real situation in many villages still remained unknown to the outside world.
They made a host demands to the Uttar Pradesh government, as follows:
• Refrain from obstructing the democratic and peaceful agitations against CAA-NRC;
• Stop the dirty game of putting the blame on social organisations and activists;
• Stop all forms of repression including police brutalities like curfew, raid and custody;
• Withdraw all false cases, release all detained persons;
• Give adequate compensation to families of the killed and those injured;
• Take immediate action against guilty police officers; and,
• Order a judicial probe about the role of the police in atrocities including the incidents of firing.