'UP in retaliatory mode to clamp down on CAA protests'

'UP in retaliatory mode to clamp down on CAA protests'

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. (PTI photo)

Asking Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to resign taking moral and legal responsibility for the death of 20 anti-CAA protesters, a fact-finding team has claimed there is a "climate of terror" in the state where administration swung into "retaliatory mode to clamp down" on peaceful protests as it was "rattled by the public outrage".

The report 'Resistance, Repression and Revenge' released recently by activist Medha Patkar-led National Alliance of People's Movement (NAPM) also claimed that situation is "extremely alarming with the state cracking down massively" on students, activists, human rights and community organisations and civil society groups.

"Needless to say, Muslim communities and regions are being specifically targeted and ruthlessly hounded, with many even fearing to file complaints or choosing to leave their homes," the report said.

It said videos have surfaced of "destruction and arson" of cars and properties by police and some miscreants, "firings" leading to many deaths, "custodial torture", "assaults" on civilians, "pelting of stones from rooftops by security personnel, vitriolic hate, brutal and excessive use of force" by state with "alleged sanctions from the top".

The report said at least 327 FIRs have been filed and 1,113 people, including 280 from Lucknow alone, have been arrested and some of them are lawyers and activists while many of them are young Muslim men from the poorer localities. Almost 5,558 persons have been taken into preventive custody "in anticipation of violence" and reportedly released later.

It also said 76 cases have been registered and 108 people arrested for sharing and posting "objectionable and misleading posts" on social media. Action has been taken against 15,344 social media posts including 6,612 of Twitter, 8,577 of Facebook and 155 videos on YouTube, it said.

Another issue highlighted in the report was that of the registering of "mass FIRs" under Section 307 (attempt to murder) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) among others on many activists and individuals, across districts. "Many persons named are from the Muslim community. Hundreds to thousands of ‘unknown’ persons are being named in the FIRs. Fifteen FIRs have been filed against 21,500 persons, in Kanpur alone, as per official admission. Police is also threatening invocation of NSA against at least 250 agitators," it said.

Referring to notices issued to reclaim damages for destruction of public property, the report said shops and properties of “largely poor Muslims” are being seized and sealed by the administration, "as per orders of the Chief Minister to 'seek revenge' and in stated compliance of a Supreme Court order of 2018. This is happening in a 'campaign mode' across districts," it added.

"There is a climate of terror amongst people across the state, particularly Muslims, across many districts where many confirmed and unconfirmed reports of police violence including on women and elders, ransacking of homes, destruction of private property, youth and children being beaten up and detained arbitrarily are being received by the hour," it said.

A separate fact-finding report by 'Ham Bharat ke Log: National Action Against CAA' released in December had also claimed there was a "reign of terror" in Uttar Pradesh where the Adityanath-led BJP government is trying to crush the protests against CAA by "brazenly" targeting minorities, agitators and activists to suppress all kinds of dissent.