UP Police Accused of Bias against Muslims over Kanpur Violence

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PUCL (People’s Union for Civil Liberties), Rihai Manch, and All Indian Lawyers’ Council (AICL), on Tuesday, held a press conference in Kanpur and questioned the police action in dealing with the violence in the wake of the protest

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Civil rights groups have accused the Uttar Pradesh Police of bias against Muslims while taking action in cases related to violence during the protest held against Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) suspended spokesperson Nupur Sharma over her derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammed.

PUCL (People’s Union for Civil Liberties), Rihai Manch, and All Indian Lawyers’ Council (AICL), on Tuesday, held a press conference in Kanpur and questioned the police action in dealing with the violence. Uttar Pradesh PUCL’s Aalok Agnihotri, Rihai Manch’s Rajiv Yadav, and AICL’s advocate Sharfuddin accused the police of filing FIRs and arresting only Muslims.

“The police administration and the intelligence agency have named people from a particular community in two FIRs and one more FIR by a citizen Chandeshwar Haate to hide its failures. On the basis of these FIRs, people from a particular community are being arrested.  Besides, the police are threatening to invoke NSA, Gangster Act, and to run a bulldozer on the house of the accused. These actions are under suspicion and against the judicial process,” said these groups in a statement after the press conference.

They demanded a probe by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by a sitting high court judge.

The police have so far arrested 51 people for the violence which broke out on 3 June when a group of people organised a protest against the derogatory remarks made by the BJP leaders against Prophet Muhammed. Some of the videos on the incidents show that a mob is beating a Muslim youth.

Talking about the incident to Clarion India, Yadav said that the police have arrested one or two people from the other side too, but for social media posts not for violence. Apart from that, all of those arrested are Muslims. No FIR has so far been lodged against the complaint of the Muslim side, he said. 

 “Stones were pelted from both sides. There is evidence of stone-pelting by Hindus, Muslims, and policemen. If you want to take action, act against the culprits from all the sides,” he said.

Yadav also pointed out that the police personnel have been heavily deployed in the Muslim-dominated areas and questioned the heavy deployment only in Muslim areas. 

“The government is bulldozing and criminalising the constitutional right to protest. It is said that the violence broke out because some people protested. The fact of the matter is that violence broke out because the BJP had taken action against Nupur Sharma,” said Yadav.

On Monday, the police released a poster of 40 accused asking people to help trace them. Most of the photographs put up on the poster were wearing skull caps and pajama-kurta suggesting the Muslim identity of the accused.

Yadav also slammed the police for releasing the poster citing high court and Supreme Court criticism of such action earlier. He said, “Such posters may invite mob lynching of the accused.” 

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Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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