By Kulsum Mustafa
Lucknow: The heat is catching up fast with the 57 alleged, anti-CAA ‘rioters’ of the city. In a unique experiment masterminded by Yogi Adityanath’s government, 100 hoardings, with full name, address, photo of the accused signed jointly by the district magistrate and Uttar Pradesh Police have been put up at prominent public places in the city. The ‘Name and shame campaign’ aims at public humiliation of those who allegedly indulged in vandalism and arson in the 19th December 2019 anti- CAA protest rally in the city, where some protestors turned violent and indulged in stone-pelting. The move is being seen as the CM’s follow up on his open threat speeches after the riots that warned of stern punishment against the protestors who disturbed law and order and destroyed public property.
Hoardings send wave of shock
The hoardings have sent a wave of shock in the social circles. Fearing for their lives and safety the 57 accused crying foul. They allege that this move reeks of lawlessness and charge of a reign of terror, vindictiveness and dictatorship unleashed by Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh.
The 57 accused have been charged with damaging public property, instigating and indulging in vandalism and arson during the anti- CAA protest in the city. The accused, including prominent citizens and religious leaders, have been issued penalty recovery notices to the tune of Rs 1.55 crores. In case they fail to pay up within a month, their property will be confiscated. The simple mathematical calculation shows that each of them will have to pay approximately Rs 3 lakhs.
Remove hoardings, demands Cleric
Demanding the immediate removal of the hoardings and action against the guilty officers, the Imam of Eidgah, Firangi Mahal, Maulana Khalid Rashid, has termed the entire exercise as gross Human Rights violations. Legal experts are saying that it is a blatant attack on Life and Liberty of an individual. The accused alleged that no due process of law has been followed in dealing with them as they were only registering a peaceful anti-CAA protest. While several of them were picked up and imprisoned without first presenting them before the Judicial Magistrate, as is the law. They say they had violated no law and damaged no public property.
“I was not part of any protest, in fact without thinking of my own security and safety I took upon myself voluntary the role of the pacifier that time, said Maulana Syed Saif Abbas Naqvi, the Shia cleric, with mass following whose name also figures in the hoardings.
The cleric explained that he reached the Bara Imambara, a prominent tourist spot in old Lucknow and tried to quell the mob and ensured a safe passage for the foreign tourists stranded there.
“In just 5-7 minutes I succeeded in restoring peace and preventing any untoward incident. Was that a crime?” he asked.
He said that the videos made by the district administration at the spot will clearly show the role he played. I fact they should thank him for ensuring that the peace was disturbed by the sheer presence of mind of him and his supporters.
The cleric said he has many documents, including phone calls of officers, asking him to help the administration maintain peace to prove his innocence. He said he will bring them out at the right time.
Asserting that like a a peace-loving citizen while he is all for punishment to the guilty the government must also question how responsibly they themselves dealt with the situation and if it was not both an administrative and intelligence failure on their part that they are trying to cover up by charging innocent and peace-loving citizens and needlessly trying to shame them by booking them on false charges.