In the FIR registered in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh on 20th October, 80 Muslims are named accused while 100-200 as unknown. A fact-finding team of Rihai Manch and NCHRO has pointed out several holes in the FIR.
LUCKNOW — In apparently blatant misuse of anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)-1967, the Uttar Pradesh police have booked 80 Muslims as named accused and 100-200 others as unknown for allegedly attacking an idol procession during Dussehra on 20th October. Besides UAPA, six sections of Indian Penal Code have also been slapped against them.
According to the FIR lodged at the Baundi police station in the Bahraich district, on the written complaint of an alleged member of the procession Ashish Kumar Shukla, those 80 Muslims along with 100-200 others were hiding on the way of the procession and when it was passing through the Khaira village on way to Badnapur for immersion, they attacked it. The complainant claimed in the FIR that the attackers were armed with guns, pistols, bombs and swords. He named three persons and 50-60 unknown persons from the procession who he said were seriously injured in the attack.
However, human rights groups Rihai Manch and NCHRO (National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations), whose joint delegation visited the area on 28th October, have made holes in the police FIR. They claimed that the complaint seems to have been prepared even before the incident.
They have raised several points:
— The FIR does not mention the time of the incident but it mentions time of the filing of the complaint.
— Complainant named 80 Muslims in the FIR besides 100-200 others as unknown but he mentions names of only three persons from the procession as injured and 50-60 other injured persons as unknown.
— The FIR has nothing that warrants invocation of UAPA against the accused.
Rihai Manch president Adv. Mohammad Shoaib said: “After a cursory look at the FIR, the incident seems completely doubtful. The complainant has not written the time of the incident, yet FIR says incident took place at 00:00 clock on 20 Oct and it was registered at 21:38 PM. The local police and communal elements jointly prepared this fake report. FIR names 80 people and 100-200 as unknown which does not seem believable. If 250-300 people had hidden themselves on a village road to attack a Hindu procession, they would have been noticed. Ashish Kumar Shukla names 80 people out of 250-300 but mentions names of only three persons who got injured and forgets 50-60 other injured. The person who does not remember injured members of his own procession, how can he remember 80 names from the other side? This proves that those named as accused in the FIR were already identified and marked by them.”
In a press statement, Rihai Manch leader also claimed that invocation of UAPA against the accused is “a conspiracy to declare Muslims anti-national.”
The fact-finding team of Rihai Manch and NCHRO had these members: Rajeev Yadav (General Secretary, Rihai Manch), Adv. Amit Srivastava (Delhi president of NCHRO), Baljit Kaur (human rights activist from Delhi), Adv. Ansar Indori (NCHRO), Kirpa Shankar, Robin Verma, Rajvir Kaur.
The delegation met Bahraich SP and pointed out the wrong use of UAPA in the case. “Initially he insisted that it was correct, but when legal points raised, he promised to look into the case after chargesheet. But the question is that if they remain booked under UAPA, the police will have 180 days for filing the chargesheet, otherwise in normal IPC sections, they will have to filed chargesheet within 90 days,” said Rajeev Yadav of Rihai Manch.
In all, seven sections have been used against the accused — six IPC sections (147, 148, 295-A, 296, 323, 506) and Section 7 of UAPA.
Locals told the fact-finding team that around a dozen of the accused have been arrested. However, the Police did not give any number.
On 2nd December 2017, following a communal tension during the Eid Milad procession in Nanpara of Bahraich district, several people from the minority community were arrested – five of them were slapped with NSA (National Security Act).