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Rickshaw driver arrested again as he could not pay ₹21.76 lakh in case related to CAA protest

File photo used for representational purpose.

File photo used for representational purpose.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

A rickshaw driver accused of arson and vandalism in last year’s protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act here has become the first person to be re-arrested for failing to pay up the fine — in his case, ₹21.76 lakh — as recovery for the damage to private and public property.

Mohammad Kaleem is one of the persons accused of violence in the Khadra area of Lucknow on December 19, 2019. Out on bail, he was arrested again on Friday for failing to pay the fine asked of him in a demand notice.

Also read | Named, shamed, and living in fear: On Lucknow anti-CAA protests and the accused

“He was sent to jail yesterday, for 14 days,” Shambhu Sharan, Tehsildar of Lucknow, told The Hindu.

The Lucknow administration had earlier this year issued recovery notices to 57 persons, spread over four police stations, amounting to ₹1.56 crore

The names, photos and addresses of the accused were also displayed on hoardings erected across the city in a bid to “name and shame” them.

Mr. Kaleem’s wife, Nargis, said he was picked up on Friday while he was at their home-run kiosk, selling biscuits and other edible items.

He usually drove a rickshaw for a living before shifting to a rented cart to transport refrigerators and coolers but that work also ran dry recently after the cart developed some faults, his wife said. The couple have four children.

“How will we able to pay? We don’t even have a proper house. We have always lived in a jhopadpatti [makeshift home],” she said.

Mr. Kaleem was kept at a quarantine centre on the outskirts of the city. When his wife went to inquire about him, she says she was not allowed to meet her husband. “They just asked me to deposit his clothes,” she said.

Ashma Izzat, Mr. Kaleem’s lawyer, says the administration’s action was “illegal” and argued that the proper procedure was not followed. “What example are they trying to set through this at a time when the Epidemic Diseases Act is under place and courts are yet to resume normal functioning,” asked the lawyer. Mr. Kaleem had challenged the recovery notice issued to him in the Allahabad High Court, which on June 16 granted time to the government lawyers to seek instructions and fixed the next hearing on July 13.

Meanwhile, Tehsildar Mr. Sharan said his teams had also gone to the residences of Congress activist Sadaf Jafar and retired IPS officer S.R. Darapuri, who are both accused in the violence, to recover fines from them. “We can arrest them or seal their property [or both]. We have all options open,” said the official.

Ms. Jafar confirmed that around 15 officials had come to her residence and that they allegedly informed her children that she would have to pay the fine. “They intimidated my [minor] children,” alleged Ms. Jafar.

Mr. Darapuri’s family also said that officials had come to their house and allegedly threatened to confiscate their house by Sunday. “Amidst the pandemic we are being threatened with this,” said Siddharth Darapuri, his grandson, who added that the Allahabad High Court had in a recent order suspended orders for dispossession, demolition and eviction till July 10.

“We responded to the recovery notice-cum-certificate sent to us earlier. This time we wrote them an application to halt this and wait for the court hearing. We have our bed-ridden and ailing grandmother, where will we take her?” asked Mr. Siddharth.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 11:02:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rickshaw-driver-arrested-again-as-he-could-not-pay-2176-lakh-in-case-related-to-caa-protest/article31990800.ece

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