Calling the police action against protesters in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar on 20 December a lapse on the government’s part, former Congress MP S Saiduzzaman said that the cops harassed innocents under the guise of a crackdown against rioters after protests against the amended Citizenship Act took a violent turn.
In a press note dated 23 December (see below), Saiduzzaman said that police barged into homes, destroyed personal property and sealed the shops of those not involved in protests in the name of raids.
The Muzaffarnagar Police sealed over 50 commercial establishments in Meenakshi Chowk since 21 December. The District Administration has announced that some of these properties will be sold to compensate the losses caused to public property during the protests.
Taking a swipe at the “seize and auction” route to compensate the damages caused to public property, Saiduzzaman asked who will compensate those whose private property was damaged by the police.
While condemning police action following protests on 20 December, Saiduzzaman wrote that Hindus and Muslims all across the country are standing united against the law. He also claimed that the police also rounded up innocent bystanders or those who incidentally came out of mosques while some extremist elements continued to protest violently.
The former Lok Sabha MP invoked the 2013 communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and said that the otherwise peaceful atmosphere is being disturbed by “extremist elements”. Although Saiduzzaman does not name anyone explicitly in his press note, a Firstpost reporter found that those present at the rally say that the presence of BJP leader Sanjeev Baliyan led to the further escalation of the stand-off.
He also lamented that those innocent were sent to jail, claiming that “no cases about the damage to property, burnt vehicles and shops, the articles broken inside people’s houses” have been registered.
The Muzaffarnagar Police registered multiple FIRs naming close to 151 individuals as the perpetrators of the violence that took place on 20 December. Among these, 51 were arrested as of Monday. The FIR also mentioned that more than 3,000 have yet to be identified. Twenty-five police personnel were injured and the death of a person in Meerut, hailing from Muzaffarnagar, is being probed.
Here is the press note issued by S Saiduzzaman on 23 December:
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Updated Date: Dec 24, 2019 13:15:11 IST