Sambhal: Uttar Pradesh government has issued notices to peace-loving citizens and those who are involved in social or developmental activities say those who have received damage notices.
Notices have been issued to a 57-year-old Ayurveda doctor who runs a clinic, a 56-year-old social activist who runs a school for Dalit and Muslim children, a 47-year-old political activist who runs a puncture shop, a 51-year-old businessman who also runs two educational institutions to compensate for damage to property caused during anti-CAA protests in Sambhal district on December 19. They are among 59 persons who were issued notices for payment of Rs 15.35 lakh in total.
They have announced to challenge the order in court.
Mushir Khan, who runs a cold storage facility and two schools, is a well-known social activist, and heads the Sambhal Sangharsh Samiti, is shocked after getting the notice, saying they have held so many protests against the policies of various governments but never has such an action been taken.
He wondered what message the state government is sending. That they will restrict our Constitutional right to a peaceful protest? He asks.
Mushir says though the Samiti had planned to organise a “Save the Constitution” protest at the Nagar Palika in Sambhal On December 19 but they were not granted permission. So they did not hold any protest that day still he was sent the notice.
Claiming that none of those in the notices are there in any video footage of the violence, Dr Nazim, a 57-year-old Ayurveda doctor, noted: “Note the pattern… All of them are from the educated middle class who have been at forefront against government policies.”
Indian Express quoted him as saying, “I am not new to protests. I had spearheaded peaceful protests at Jantar Mantar against Lalu Prasad, when he was Railway Minister, demanding a train for Sambhal. We know that protesting against the government is a Constitutional right. We also know that it is our duty to maintain peace during protests.”
Nazim who has helped the administration in various developmental activities, like rejuvenating the Sot River etc., exclaimed, “We have worked to build the nation. Today, this government is saying we are involved in violence and dividing people.”
Sayyed Aslam, who runs a small school on his terrace for Dalit and Muslim children, rues “I have my daughter’s wedding in less than a month. Now, I feel guilty that because of my social activism, my family is made to suffer. Such is the fear that my wife feels uncertain about the wedding. Look what this government has done to us.”
Aslam says BJP administration is “working with a feeling of revenge”. Aslam’s wife Nahid Begum is worried about 150 students, mostly Dalit and Muslim, of their school, fearing that she has to shut the school “if the government continues its victimisation”.
Zia Ashraf, 47, who runs a tyre puncture shop, asserts that they peacefully protested outside the Chaudary Sarai area on December 16. He fails to understand why he was named in an FIR related to violence on December 19.
When asked about this, Additional District Magistrate Kamlesh Awasthi said that the names were sent to them by police and the identity of the accused will be decided in court. He says they will be given an opportunity to reply.