Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — Terming the Uttar Pradesh police brutalities on anti-CAA protesters as “unprecedented”, senior CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali said on Tuesday that it demonstrated Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s ‘vindictive” attitude. The state government’s response to the protests was so cruel that, instead providing medical help to the seriously injured in firing, its priority was to arrest them.
Subhashini Ali also said that in western UP, most of the ‘police mitrs’ recruited were supporters of the BJP and now they were seen along with the police attacking Muslim localities.
The former parliamentarian who visited various affected areas in the state, told Caravan Daily that the situation in UP was grim as the local administration and the police did not change their attitude of ‘revenge’ (badla). Because of this, she said, even the copy of the post mortem report (except to the families of Anas and Sulaiman Bijnaur) was not given to the police firing victims’ families.
As many as 28 people were killed and scores of others injured in the police firing in the state in mid-December. She said the state government still did not announce compensation of any kind to the families of those killed due to police bullets. Many of them, instead, have been arrested, she said.
Subhashini Ali, who visited Lucknow, Kanpur, Meerut and Bijnaur, said these four districts witnessed killings of people, destruction of property, vicious beatings and large-scale arrests, whereas 11 people have been killed. “All the11 were shot above the waist and at least one (Alim, Meerut) was shot in the head, and one (Anas, Bijnaur) was shot through the eye. Notices for ‘recovery’ were also being posted and several extremely poor people are being asked to pay huge fines,” she added.
Providing details about the firing victims, she said all of them were young Muslims from poor families. After they were shot, no one from the administration informed the families, which all came to know of the incidents through bystanders and neighbours, she said.
Except for Lucknow, where an eRickshaw driver, Mohd Wakeel, was shot dead on December 19 after the joint protest, all the killings took place on Friday, December 20, after the Juma prayers. “While Juma prayers were held in mosques across the state and attended by lakhs of people, the administration resorted to attacks on the people returning from the mosques in certain areas in about ten districts,” she said.
“The bodies of the victims were handed over to their families in a most insensitive fashion. Even in Meerut and Bijnaur, they were not allowed to be taken to their homes and were buried in far off graveyards.”
She said the police in Kanpur and Meerut had announced that they would treat all those who were killed or injured by bullets as ‘rioters’ and will file cases against them or their families.
A politburo member of the CPI(M), Subhashini Ali said the administration even did not spare prominent lawyers. In Binaural, three lawyers including Javed Aftab Sidddiqui, ex-town area chairman and Mutawalli of the Jama Masjid, who had absolutely nothing to do with any kind of wrongdoing, had been charged as rioters by the district administration, which has actually put up posters declaring them absconders with a reward of Rs.25,000 on each. “On January 5, the Bijnaur district court observed a strike demanding cases against them and all other innocent people are withdrawn. The UP Bar Council has also taken up this matter.”
Subhashini Ali also countered stand of the Meerut SSP who had released a video on a “national” Hindi channel claiming that a ‘mob’ had tried to burn 35 police personnel alive after locking them into a room. She said this video was not shown again anywhere else.
“I personally visited the Bhavani Market, Hapur Road, where the incident allegedly took place. Some 36 unarmed police trainees were there on December 20. When the lathi-charge and firing started across the road, local people and shopkeepers ensured the safety of these trainees. They were kept there for more than an hour, and when the area became peaceful, the police were contacted and they were taken away.”
It was unfortunate, he said, the administration had resorted the a misinformation campaign to cover up their own acts of commissions and omissions.
She said that in both Meerut and Bijnaur (and possibly in other districts of Western UP), ‘police mitrs’ have been recruited without following any procedure or criteria. Demanding complete disbanding of the ‘police mitra’ vigilantes, she said most of those recruited were supporters of the BJP who have been given badges, jackets, ID cards and lathis by the local administration and have been seen and photographed beating people and vandalizing property.
The Communist leader blamed the CM Yogi for all these brutalities as he had stated publicly that he would take ‘revenge’ (badla) on protesters and make them pay for any damage that occurred during the protests and “he has been more than true to his word”.
Demanding a judicial inquiry into the entire sequence of events in the state by a sitting judge of the Allahabad high court, she demanded action against guilty police personnel and compensation to the victims.