Defiant Ansar Indori and Mukesh say they are not going to withdraw anything from social media as demanded by police of the violence-hit state
Waquar Hasan | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – Activists, lawyers and concerned citizens have condemned the Tripura government’s move to book Supreme Court lawyers under the stringent UAPA and various sections of IPC. The case was registered after the lawyers visited the state and brought out facts related to anti-Muslim violence that saw destruction of large-scale Muslim properties, including mosques, according to reports coming from the state.
On Wednesday, SHO of West Agartala Police Station Srikanta Guha issued notices to Ansar Indori and Mukesh, two lawyers who was part of the team, informing them about the UAPA case filed against them and asked them to delete “false, fabricated” statements, comments made and circulated by them.
The lawyers have also been asked to appear before police by November 10 for questioning, Superintendent of Police of West Tripura district Manik Das said. “A group of Supreme Court lawyers visited Tripura on Tuesday last and after their visit we noticed that several posts were made in social media expressing their discontent regarding the recent communal incidents. Police has registered a case and wants to know if the posts were made by them or were fake posts,” Das told PTI.
Indori and Mukesh along with Supreme Court lawyers Ehtesham Hashmi and Amit Srivastav released their fact-finding report on Tuesday, November 2, at the Press Club of India in New Delhi. In their report titled as “Humanity under Attack in Tripura; #Muslim lives matter” they have directly held the BJP-led state government responsible for the misery caused to the minority community.
Talking to Clarion India about the UAPA, Indori and Muskesh expressed their shock and dismay over the police action saying they are not able to understand for which crime they have been booked under such a stringent law.
Both the lawyers said that they would not delete anything from the social media as demanded by the Tripura Police. “We won’t withdraw it as they are realities,” said a defiant Indori. With regard to appearance before the SHO, he said that he is discussing this with lawyers about the matter. Mukesh, on the other hand, said he would fully cooperate with the police in its investigation and appear before the police. But he said that he has not said anything on social media and anywhere which needs to be withdrawn.
Indori said they have been booked because they have exposed what the state government was trying to hide about anti-Muslim violence in which properties and religious places belonging to the Muslim community were targeted by the rioters in the last week of October.
“We are not able to understand as to what illegal activities we committed that we have been issued notice under UAPA. We had gone there to do social service and to protect democracy,” said Indori.
Mukesh also pointed to the contradictions in the allegations levelled by the police against them. He said he has been accused of disturbing peace. But he reached Tripura on October 30 while the last incident of the violence had happened on October 26. “I had no connection with any person or place in Tripura before I landed there. Then, how could I disturb the peace?” he asked.
During the fact-finding mission, he said, he talked only about peace and went to support the poor people. He never expected that he would be booked under the UAPA for this. The UAPA case against him at such a young age may put his career at risk, Mukesh said.
The cases against them have received widespread condemnation. Lawyers and activists have denounced the police action.
Meanwhile, MURL Chairperson Justice BG Kolse Patil denounced the UAPA against the lawyers. “MURL or Movement Against UAPA and Other Repressive Laws strongly condemns this act of suppression of the voice of dissent by the Tripura State Government,” said Justice Kolse in a statement, adding the “BJP government uses the draconian UAPA to suppress democratic voices dissent frequently.”
All India Lawyers’ Association for Justice (AILAJ) also issued a statement condemning the slapping of UAPA on the lawyers saying: “This betrays the communal nature of the Tripura police and is an attempt to suppress the reality of these communal incidents”.
AILAJ pointed out “The issuance of identical notices to different persons without clarity about which post in question is problematic shows lack of application of mind, and vagueness. It may also be noted that vagueness has been held to amount to arbitrariness and would be a violation of the fundamental rights under Article 14 to equal protection of law”.
AILAJ strongly condemns the issuance of notices by Tripura Police to advocates who conducted a fact-finding into the communal violence in Tripura. This betrays the communal nature of the Tripura police & is an attempt to suppress the reality of these communal incidents. pic.twitter.com/uN6vbRfuDF
— AILAJ_HQ (@AilajHq) November 3, 2021
Prominent activist and CPI-ML leader Kavita Krishnan called the UAPA case “shameful” and asked Tripura police that whether finding facts is terrorism.
Advocates Mukesh and Ansar Indori who went on a fact finding team to look into the targeted anti Muslim violence in Tripura have been summoned by Tripura police under UAPA! It’s terrorism to find facts now @tripura_cmo ?! Absolutely shameful! pic.twitter.com/0awEkln0i7
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) November 4, 2021
Former chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan described the police action as “unbelievable”.
Unbelievable: Tripura police sends UAPA notice to Delhi-based lawyers for social media posts relating to fact-finding on Tripura violence. West Agartala PS sent notice under Section 41 of the CrPC, informing advocate Mukesh & advocate Ansar Indori. https://t.co/p55kxDzHhl
— Zafarul-Islam Khan (@khan_zafarul) November 4, 2021
Assam MLA Ashraful Hussain said “Tripura police is trying hard to intimidate those exposing the lies of Tripura Police and their complicity/inefficiency during the attacks on Muslims”.
.@Tripura_Police is trying hard to intimidate those exposing the lies of Tripura Police and their complicity/inefficiency during the attacks on Muslims. This won’t hide the facts. https://t.co/CwZDugUjN7
— Ashraful Hussain (@AshrafulMLA) November 3, 2021