Hoardings of anti-CAA protesters, identifying them as ‘defaulters’ come up in Lucknow

Administration’s move to put up hoardings, which include pictures of Shia cleric Maulana Saif Abbas, retired IPS officer, Congress leader Sadaf Jafar, drew a sharp reaction from civil society

Photo courtesy- social media
Photo courtesy- social media

NH Correspondent/Lucknow

The Lucknow administration has put up hoardings with photos and addresses of 53 anti-CAA protesters across the city identifying them as rioters and projecting them as defaulters who have failed to pay for the damages caused during violence on December 19 last year.

The hoardings include pictures of Shia cleric Maulana Saif Abbas, retired IPS officer SR Darapuri and Congress leader Sadaf Jafar. The move drew a sharp reaction from social activists and retired bureaucrats.

“This is insane. How can one think of this weird idea of putting up hoarding with pictures of young people? India is already on the receiving end because of this government’s intolerance policy that led to sharp decline in secular values. Such incidents will further aggravate the situation,” S.K. Singh, a retired bureaucrat said.

The district magistrate of Lucknow, Abhishek Prakash, however justified the decision saying that the hoardings carry pictures of those people who have been identified digitally for their indulgence in violence on December 19, 2019. “They have been asked to pay the compensation for damage to the public property they caused.  Recovery notices have been served. If they do not pay for the damages their properties will be confiscated,” he said.

The DM claimed that 100 such hoardings will be put up at several places across the state and these will carry pictures, names and addresses of people.

The Lucknow administration has assessed the damage to be worth Rs 1.55 crore. Officials claim that 16 people have been served recovery notices of over Rs 69 lakh till now. The list includes Shia cleric Maulana Saif Abbas and son of Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, Sibtain Noori.

The UP government started serving notices after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath warned those who were involved in violence during demonstrations and vowed to take revenge for the losses including damage to public and private property.

This happened despite the fact that on January 31, the Supreme Court had asked the Yogi Adityanath government to respond to a petition against the Uttar Pradesh administration’s move to confiscate property of people who protested against the amended citizenship law last month. Parwaiz Arif Titu, a lawyer who had petitioned the top court, also asked the Supreme Court to order a judicial inquiry into the violence that took place in the state during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The petitioner has alleged that the UP administration was going ahead arbitrarily to order seizure of property of people to deliver on chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s promise to take ‘revenge’ on the protesters for political reasons.

Lenin Raghuvanshi of People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) said that this step (of putting up hoardings with pictures) shows the vindictive attitude of the Yogi government towards a section of society.

“Are these people criminal? Has any court of land pronounced them as criminal? If not, then why is the government is harassing these people? This is against the practice of natural justice,” he said.

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