CAA row: Cong moves NHRC over police 'atrocities' in UP

Congress moves NHRC over police 'atrocities' on anti-CAA protesters in UP

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. (Reuters photo)

The Congress on Monday moved the National Human Rights Commission demanding action against alleged police atrocities on anti-CAA protesters in Uttar Pradesh, claiming that victims have been made accused in case-related FIRs and no police officer has been named.

The delegation, led by senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, met top NHRC officials and made a "detailed" 31-page representation which included videos and photographs as "evidence" of alleged atrocities and human rights violations in the state.

After the meeting, Rahul Gandhi alleged the UP government has "gone to war against its own people" and urged the NHRC to act decisively to protect the "constitutional rights of our citizens".

"A delegation of Congress leaders presented the NHRC with evidence of the atrocities against the citizens of UP by the State Govt., which has gone to war against its own people. The NHRC must act decisively to protect the idea of India & the constitutional rights of our citizens," he said in a tweet.

Priyanka Gandhi said the Congress leaders led By Rahul Gandhi filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission and demanded an impartial inquiry into the barbaric and unconstitutional acts by the UP Police against people.

"BHU students were threatened with destruction of their careers, excesses and repression targeting common people, killings of innocents -- justice is required in all these cases through an impartial investigation," she said in a tweet in Hindi.

During the meeting with NHRC officials, Rahul Gandhi alleged that there is a systematic process being put in place across the country and "police mitras" were being inducted to brutalise the people.

What is taking place is against the idea of India and the Constitution of the country, he said.

"We cannot become a country where the leadership brutalises its own people. You (NHRC) are the appropriate institution to safeguard human rights. NHRC is defending the idea of India and everything that has been promised by our Constitution," Gandhi was quoted as saying by sources.

If NHRC goes into details of what is submitted, it will be convinced that something terribly wrong has happened in Uttar Pradesh, he said during the meeting.

The party also submitted a memorandum to the NHRC in which it has alleged that the BJP government in the state "treats its own citizens like criminals".

"Given the role of a reckless state government that views the law and the Constitution as mere inconveniences, treats its own citizens like criminals and wears its hostility towards ordinary citizens as a badge of pride, the duty of institutions such as the NHRC to act as checks and balances and to embody and protect the values enshrined in the Constitution of India becomes paramount," the Congress memorandum said.

It further said the NHRC has a "glorious history" of addressing injustices when all other institutions have fallen short. "We hope and expect that this instance will not be an exception to that legacy."

After the meeting, Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi told reporters, "In Uttar Pradesh, there has been gross human rights violations. We have submitted videos and photos to the NHRC."

"It has been found that there has been a failure to lodge FIRs. Not a single police officer (has been) named as accused. There have been numerous FIRs against protesters in which victims have become accused," he alleged.

Singhvi said the Congress has given detailed facts including on "deaths of 23" people and also details on how they were killed "as some were shot in the chest".

"We showed videos of BJP and RSS people recruited as police mitras who were unleashed on people. Notices were given to people by administration threatening them against joining protests," he alleged.

"We ended by showing a video where we showed the face of the person who was recruited as (police mitra), as Priyanka Ji told the Commission...the condition for becoming a 'Police Mitra' is a height of 5' 10'' and an association, membership or office-bearership of the RSS. Well, we showed an actual video, with an example," Singhvi said.

The memorandum submitted by the Congress said photos and videos uploaded by witnesses, ground reports and other "unbiased" media reports show police firing and mercilessly beating of the protesters, in some cases even minors.

"They are also seen destroying public and private property. The fact that such actions were neither punished nor even taken cognizance of by the state government points towards one of only two possibilities - either the police and state government were working in connivance with each other or such actions were ignored by the state government in order to curb the protests," the memorandum said.

"Both conclusions are disturbing and directly offensive of the Rule of Law and the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution," it added.

The leaders who met the NHRC officials included Mohsina Kidwai, Salman Khurshid, P L Punia, Jitin Prasada, Rajiv Shukla and UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu.

The Congress leaders demanded a thorough probe into the deaths that took place in the state during violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).