‘No record of people killed, arrested in U.P. violence’

Fighting for justice: Social activists from Uttar Pradesh at a meeting in Bandra on Thursday.

Fighting for justice: Social activists from Uttar Pradesh at a meeting in Bandra on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: EmmanualYogini

Activists narrate accounts of police brutality, call citizens to defend the Constitution

Social activists from Uttar Pradesh on Thursday narrated eyewitness accounts of the State police’s atrocities against protesters demanding the withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Act, and National Register of Citizens, and condemning the attacks on students in universities across the country.

The activists were in Mumbai to attend a meeting organised by the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Maharashtra, at St. Peter’s Church in Bandra.

Protests erupted in the northern State following the brutal assault on students of Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University on December 19.

Arundhati Dhuru, a member of the National Alliance for People’s Movements, recalled the sequence of events at one such protest. The demonstration began at 3 p.m., and just when the protesters started to disperse, a bunch of masked men parked empty buses around them, she said. “They barged in and started hitting the protesters. The worst part was that the police let them in and the atmosphere became chaotic as the protesters started running and the police started firing. Since then, the State government has not put an end to this violence. They are burning men’s beards stating their beards define their identity. The police has still not given a report of the bullets that hit the victims. We still don’t know the exact number of people killed and arrested,” Ms. Dhuru said.

Activist Medha Patkar said if the citizens of India do not stand against those acting against the Constitution, they will have to end up proving their citizenship to the government.

Ms. Patkar said right-wing politicians and capitalists are a danger to the country and the government is slowly and steadily making the law-making process undemocratic. “It is time for us to adopt a particular ideology and then proceed. We should have realised and stopped this regime when they decided to organise a rath yatra to Ayodhya. We have let this toxic party come to power by not putting a stop to it at the right time,” she said.

Faizal Khan, a member of Khudai Khidadgar, said representatives of regional news media were only enjoying the show and manipulating the situation. “The innocent people killed in Uttar Pradesh did not even get a proper burial. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has effectively shown the dirty side of Hinduism and given a bad name to the religion,” Mr. Khan said.

Uncertain future

Several others who witnessed the violence said this was the first time citizens had been at the receiving end of such extreme violence. Richa Singh, a member of Sangtin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, said, “Similar protests are on in cities like Delhi, but the protesters are unsure of what will happen next — whether they will be arrested, assaulted or shot dead.”

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 1:07:07 PM |

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