In Yogi’s UP there is no Ram Rajya: blind eye to property destroyed by police and BJP, Sangh supporters
Now that there is enough footage showing police breaking CCTV cameras, private vehicles and property in UP, perhaps the Supreme Court should frame guidelines to force the state to pay damages
The spokesman of the Uttar Pradesh Government issued a press note earlier this week stating that 498 people were issued notices for arson during anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protest across the state with maximum 148 being booked in Meerut. A sum of Rupees six lakhs were even collected from the people by way of compensation for damage to public property, the state claimed.
While the state took recourse to a Supreme Court guideline and an order of the Allahabad High Court, it conveniently disregarded the part of the guideline which maintained that the penalty could be levied and collected only after a trial and conviction. Without a trial and conviction, the notices and the collection, say legal experts, are illegal.
While the CM and his ministers and officials are silent on this part of the guideline, they are also quiet on the property damaged by policemen in uniform. A large number of video clips and footage have emerged to show policemen destroying even CCTV cameras, private vehicles, parts of mosques and individual homes. The argument that the police had to break doors to get inside is unconvincing in view of the clips circulating on social media.
Complaints are pouring in against the police with graphic details of how the policemen tormented people, particularly Muslims in Muzaffarnagar, Rampur, Kanpur, Bijnor and Sambhal while arresting alleged rioters. They forcibly entered houses at night while they could have cordoned off the area and arrested the people in the morning.
They are seen damaging property and misbehaving with women. The videos show police damaging cars and two-wheelers parked in lanes and bylanes of the localities. Going by the complaints property worth several Crore are said to have been damaged by the police in Lucknow alone.
“This government is harassing innocent people. First, the people were beaten up and booked in false cases and now the family members are receiving recovery notices. If the government is so keen about recovery it should also pay compensation to people whose properties were damaged by police,” Akhilesh Yadav, the national president of Samajwadi Party said.
He told this reporter that law should even handed and apllicable equally to everyone. If people have damaged public property and are being asked to pay compensation, the police too should be asked to pay compensation. A similar notice should also be served to policemen who are identified through CCTVs and mobile video clips.
The majority of the people who have got the notice are poor. They are daily wage earners. Some work as menial labourers, some as auto drivers and rickshaw pullers. They have no resources to pay the compensation which ranges from a few thousand rupees to several lakh of rupees.
Muneeza, a younger sister of Imtiaz, who has been arrested from Khadra in Lucknow says the family cannot afford to pay the compensation. “My brother is the only bread earner of the family. He is in jail. My father is trying to get him free. It needs money and then this notice. It will be better if police kill all of us. This will save us from the sufferings we are going through, ” she said bitterly.
It is also significant that the state government has been far-less proactive in recovering costs of property damaged by ruling party supporters and RSS affiliates in Bulandshahr and elsewhere. The law clearly is being applied to one section of the people while others get away.