Other States

Gather empty cartridges: U.P. DGP to officials

Show-down: In this file photo, policemen are seen clashing with protesters in Rampur.

Show-down: In this file photo, policemen are seen clashing with protesters in Rampur.   | Photo Credit: PTI

WhatsApp message from U.P. police chief also called for photographs of children throwing stones

As videos and eyewitness reports went viral about police action, including firing, in Uttar Pradesh during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on December 20 and 21, senior police officers asked district officials to collect evidence to justify their action.

On December 21, Director-General of Police O.P. Singh wrote in an internal WhatsApp group of the U.P. police, asking “all SSPs to do the following: 1. Empty cartridge collection. 2. Pictures of 12-13 years old children as agitations [sic] with stones in their hands or in such aggressive forms. 3. Insisting on DMs [district magistrates] to clear the roads or streets from construction materials lying there.”

This message was preceded by another one from the DGP asking all Superintendents of Police to “recover empty cartridges fired by agitators from the battleground”.

Police version

The police have denied opening fire on the protesters. So far, the police have admitted 19 deaths during the protests, mostly due to bullet wounds. Video clips, however, show several instances of policemen opening fire and residents have spoken of cops entering and ransacking their homes.

Also on December 21, Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order), P.V Ramasastry asked other members of the WhatsApp group to “recognise the efforts of men who performed their duties with courage, sincerity and dedication and recommend names of policemen for commendation discs and medals”.

The officer also cautioned that violence could repeat in some areas and the “situation may degenerate into a communal situation through retaliatory action from majority community.”

Caution on arrests

As complaints of police high-handedness began circulating on social media, the DGP sent another message on the group asking officers to be careful in arrests and not harass innocent people.

On December 23, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at a political rally in Delhi that there had been no discussion, no talk on an NRC for India since his government had taken power in 2014, the DGP sent another message on the group asking officers to be careful in arrests.

‘No harassment’

“We should not arrest people simply in order to increase the number. No innocent to be picked up, harassed or used. Responsibility of police chiefs to ensure this,” the message by the DGP said.

The number of persons arrested across the State since December 10 stands at 1,246, with another 5,558 persons held in preventive custody, the police said.

More than 370 cases have been registered.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 10:52:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gather-empty-cartridges-up-dgp-to-officials/article30421513.ece

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