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Anti-CAA protests: ₹1 crore fine slapped on U.P. poet-politician

It is a way to ‘gag’ the voices against the CAA-NRC, says Imran Pratapgarhi who unsuccessfully fought the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Moradabad on a Congress ticket

The Moradabad administration has slapped a fine of ₹1.04 crore on poet-politician Imran Pratapgarhi for violating Section 144, participating in an anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protest in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, and allegedly instigating protesters at the Idgah ground.

Listing the amount of money being spent on the security arrangements to maintain law and order during the sit-in protest, the notice issued by additional district magistrate (city) said, “One company of Rapid Action Force and a half section of Provincial Armed Constabulary has been deployed at the protest site. It amounts to a total expenditure of ₹13.42 lakh per day...the total sum spent on security amounts to ₹1,04,08, 693. It could be charged from Mr. Pratapgarhi.” The notice further said a large number of protesters continue to assemble at the protest site on the poet-politician’s call.

Responding to the notice, Mr. Pratapgarhi said it was a way to “gag” the voices against the CAA-NRC. “The government is trying to find a newer way to scuttle legitimate protest, but we cannot be afraid of such tactics,” said Mr. Pratapgarhi who unsuccessfully fought the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Moradabad on a Congress ticket.

A poet with a huge following, Mr. Pratapgarhi said he reached Moradabad on February 7 but the notice was issued on February 6. “I had informed the Superintendent of Police (City) about my visit,” he said.

Rajesh Kumar ADM (City) said a notice was issued to him a day before his visit under Section 111 of Cr. PC that peace would be maintained. “He was asked to appear on February 12, but he didn’t do so,” he told reporters.

While police sources said the notice of recovery was preventive in nature, local sources said the Idgah ground was private property and Section 144 could not be imposed there. The protesters are holding a sit-in dharna at the site since January 29.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 2:11:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/caa-protests-1-crore-fine-slapped-on-up-poet-politician/article30834459.ece

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