Delhi

Students allege state suppression in U.P.

Police lathi-charge anti-CAA protesters in Lucknow.

Police lathi-charge anti-CAA protesters in Lucknow.   | Photo Credit: AFP

They visited 15 cities from where reports of police crackdown on anti-CAA protesters had emerged

Students from up to 30 universities who undertook “fact finding” missions in 15 cities in Uttar Pradesh, from where incidents of police crackdown on anti-CAA protesters were reported, alleged that a pattern of “communalised “state suppression” had emerged, leaving many, including victims, afraid to speak out.

Videos collected by students, who visited cities such as Kanpur, Firozabad, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Lucknow, Varanasi, Bijnor, Aligarh and others showed victims alleging atrocities committed by the police, including theft from houses, unrestrained lathi charges and several cases of bullet injuries. While the police had admitted to some instances of firing, the students alleged at a press conference here on Wednesday that firing had taken place at multiple spots.

In Meerut, for instance, Tiriti Raza, a student of Delhi School of Social Work, said interviews with the victims and their families revealed that people who were not part of any protests were targeted and the police allegedly fired bullets above the waist level, marks of which could be seen on walls in Meerut.

In Muzaffarnagar, Ananya, a DU student, alleged that the police, along with local BJP leaders, had incited violence among peaceful protesters. Videos played by the team showed persons in plain clothes along with police personnel throwing stones at protesters in alleyways. Following the crackdown, Ms. Ananya said, several people were being intimidated with FIRs allegedly filed against thousands of unnamed persons. Injured people were scared to go to the hospital to get treatment fearing they will be targeted by the police, she said.

Students also reported multiple cases of juveniles being targeted and thrashed. In Muzzafarnagar, Ms. Ananya said, a 13-year-old boy was reportedly arrested and taken to jail, where he, along with others of his age, were made to chant “Jai Shree Ram”. Similarly in Badhaun, Deepak Singh, a student of BHU, said that at least 18 cases had been registered against a 12-year-old boy. Mr. Singh, who also visited Gorakpur and Mau, said that targeted raids were undertaken in these areas, with police allegedly barging into people’s homes without female police officers and beating up women. In Mau, he alleged that a prominent member of the Muslim community, who had been brought to pacify the protesters, was later targeted and made a prime suspect.

Students relayed similar stories of alleged police atrocities in Bijnor, Firozabad where authorities allegedly entered Muslim colonies without provocation and indiscriminately beat up people. In Bijnor Jail, Azhar, a student of IIMC, said that individuals were stripped and beaten up and “Islamaphobic” slurs were hurled at them.

Students slammed the State administration for carrying out “targeted” violence on specific communities that were “underprivileged” through the police and with the help of local media. They said that a narrative had been set by the police and the government and was being supported by local, especially Hindi media, to paint those injured as “rioters”.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 6:02:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/students-allege-state-suppression-in-up/article30629062.ece

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