26/12/2019 9:04 AM IST | Updated 26/12/2019 9:10 AM IST

CAA: UP Police Is Using Protest Photos To Identify 'Suspects', Forcing Families To Hurriedly Bury Dead

The police also sent notices to at least 60 people seeking recovery of damage to property caused during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

STR via Getty Images
A police personnel aims his gun towards protesters during demonstrations against India's new citizenship law in Kanpur on December 21, 2019. - Thousands of people joined fresh rallies against a contentious citizenship law in India on December 21, with 20 killed so far in the unrest. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

While Uttar Pradesh is the state where the most people have died because of police violence during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the police is now using scare tactics. 

The police have not only released photos of alleged suspects behind the violence in Uttar Pradesh, offering rewards, they have also put out notices to over 60 people for “recovery” for damaged assets. 

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The Indian Express reported that in Kanpur, Firozabad and Mau the police put out photos, announcing a reward of Rs 25,000 each for information on three “wanted” people.

Calling them miscreants, the police have also reportedly circulated the photos on Facebook and WhatsApp, the newspaper report said. 

This comes even as the reports of the worst excesses of the police are coming out from the state. 

In Mau, where the police released photos of 110 people they said were suspects for Monday’s violence, Mau Superintendent of Police Anurag Arya told The Indian Express, “Three FIRs were lodged in connection with the incident in which 21 people have been arrested so far. We identified 110 other miscreants involved in the violence. Since we have no information about these 110 people, we released posters carrying their photographs.”

This comes a day after the Rampur administration issued notices to 28 people on Tuesday after alleged damage of nearly Rs 25 lakh was assessed across the district by the police and the administration.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had warned those protesting against CAA of revenge and had said he would auction off property of “vandal”. 

Police excess

Hindustan Times reports that in Meerut, the police are forcing families to hurriedly bury the people who died in the protests and have registered FIRs against the dead. 

Forty-five-year old Zaheer Mohammad’s family told the newspaper that he had gone to buy biris and was caught between the police and the protesters. They said that he was not  even “curious” about the protests. He took a bullet in his head and died. 

Zaheer’s story is only one among many in the newspaper report. However, AN Singh, superintendent of police (Meerut City) told the newspaper, “These men were present at the scenes of violence and remain under suspicion. In the FIRs, they have been named as accused and their roles will be probed scientifically.” 

Huffpost India had reported on Wednesday that the police had apprehended and tortured at least 5 minors in the Bijnor Police Cantonment in Uttar Pradesh. The report said that the number of minors detained in the area could be as high as 22, and one of them could still be in custody. 

Read the entire report here

Scare tactics? 

While 28 people in Rampur were served notices for alleged property damage, in Gorakhpur policehas sent notice to 33 people allegedly involved in violence during protests on Friday. 

Munni Begum, the mother of an embroidery worker who is in police custody and has received such a notice told The Indian Express, “I have not received any recovery notice from the district administration so far. We don’t even have money to arrange a lawyer for Zameer. How can we pay any compensation?” 

SIT to probe

Meanwhile, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was constituted on Wednesday to probe cases of rioting registered here during recent protests against the CAA.

The SIT that will go into the cases of violence in Kanpur will be headed by Additional SP (Crime) Rajesh Yadav, IG (Kanpur range) Mohit Agarwal said.

The SIT was constituted following the directives of the Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) for conducting a fair probe into the cases of violence.

As many as four cases - three with Beckonganj police station and another with Babupurwa police station - have been transferred to the SIT.

The SIT would be better equipped to deal with the electronic gadgets to track down the culprits, especially because social media and WhatsApp were used to bring the alleged rioters together, said an official.

The team would be given access to all data from areas under the jurisdiction of police stations where the clashes occurred, Senior SP Kanpur Anant Deo Tewari said.