Buckling under the pressure of the public and civil society, the Yogi Government has decided to revisit the cases of around 1200 people who have been arrested in last one week for their involvement in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests.
This cry is gaining ground with each passing day that the UP police have arrested innocent people, majority of them from the minority community, to further the political mission of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Many of those were also issued legal notices for recovery of the cost of property damaged during the violence. In many cases, these people who received notices are poor who work out of their skin to earn their livelihood.
The facade of lie started crumbling when four persons – Mohammed Farrukh, Atiq Ahmad, Shoaib and Mohd Khalid -- were released in Muzaffarnagar after spending over 10 days in jail as they were found innocent.
Additional superintendent of police (City), Muzaffarnagar, Satpal Antil told reporters that these four men, one of them a government clerk, were released under Section 169 of Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr PC) which found that they were not involved in violence.
In Rampur, the district administration has served notices to 28 people for the recovery of damages worth ₹25 lakh. District magistrate Aunjaneya Kumar Singh said that the notices may be dropped against two persons as they have proven that they were not involved in vandalism. We have identified the real culprits.”
In Lucknow, district officials say that a lady has successfully proved the innocence of her son who is languishing in jail. The release order of that boy may be issued soon.
Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Awasthi said that the government has decided to review the cases and whosoever is found innocent will be released.
The government had earlier set up a Special Investigation Teams (SIT) at district levels, under supervision of additional SPs, which was supposed to ensure that people are arrested only after verifying evidence regarding their involvement in the violence.
“The SIT was constituted so that no innocent person got arrested or was kept languishing in jail if wrongly arrested,” Awasthi said.
Those who were arrested were booked under different sections for rioting, unlawful assembly, attempt to murder, wrongful constraints, criminal intimidation, criminal assault on public servant etc. They were also booked for alleged criminal conspiracy and under the Public Property Damage Act.
Members of Civil societies and political parties claim that police have raided the houses of people of a particular community, arrested social activists and even arrested innocent people claiming they pelted stones at the police in which over 200 cops were injured.
The brutality is so intense that fear stalks the minority-dominated areas of the Uttar Pradesh. Life is slowly returning to normalcy but people still fear that police can come down to their house any time and torment them.
A senior criminal lawyer in Lucknow IB Singh claims that people have approached him seeking legal opinion claiming they were wrongly targeted during the protest.