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Now, police banners in Lucknow show anti-CAA protesters accused of violence

A banner naming anti-CAA protesters erected near Hazratganj intersection in Lucknow on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Omar Rashid

The police have put up several hoardings across Lucknow identifying those accused of violence during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December last.

The names, photographs and residential addresses of the accused are listed in the hoardings, triggering those named fear for their safety.

They have been asked to pay for the damage to public and private property within a stipulated time or have their properties seized by the district administration. The total damage listed in the hoardings amount to ₹1.55 crore.

As many as 57 persons have been identified in separate hoardings that have come up in the Hazratganj, Thakurganj, Hasanganj and Qaiserbagh police station areas.

One of them, with 28 names, put up at the prominent Hazratganj intersection, next to the statue of B.R. Ambedkar, asks them to pay up over ₹64 lakh.

A banner naming anti-CAA protesters at Hazratganj in Lucknow on Friday.

A banner naming anti-CAA protesters at Hazratganj in Lucknow on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Omar Rashid


Those served notices in this hoarding include retired IPS officer S.R Darapuri, lawyer and activist Mohammad Shoaib, Congress member Sadaf Jafar, teacher Robin Verma, cultural activist Deepak Kabir and Dalit activist Pawan Rao Ambedkar.

It is not clear why the Lucknow police and administration publicised the names of the people served notices as they had been issued notices by magistrates and asked to pay the amount within 30 days or face confiscation of their properties.

Many of the accused were granted bail by court in the charges against them.

They had said they would challenge in court the notices issued to them.

Ms.Jafar said her name came up on a day when she had got a stay on her property attachment notice. She is seeking legal help once again.

“We are exposed to mob lynching now,” she said, expressing a fear that the public display of her face and address could jeopardise the safety of her children and herself.

“Just came back from Hazratganj, saw people clicking pictures of us closely. They are trying to break us by exposing us to humiliation and danger...But this only strengthens my grit to fight it legally as well as constitutionally “ said the single mother of two.

'A ploy of govt?'

Mr. Kabir wondered if the hoardings were a ploy of the government to “create fear among people”. While on the one hand it served notices for damage to public and private property, on the other it was spending on putting up these hoardings, he said. Like others he had also received the notice in jail itself and claimed that this was a step to “put pressure” on them.

“What is the government's intention? Does it want to create fear among people because it is willing to spend more money on such things”, he asked.

He also asked if the government had ever before put out hoardings of those accused of rape, murder or financial fraud. “We are not even history-sheeters”, he said.

Mr. Darapuri said the hoardings were an illegal act and the administration had no right to put them up under any law. Revealing their personal information had “exposed” them in an illegal manner among the common public. “Yes we are accused but we are not convicted. This was done to dishonour us and to make targets of us”.

The legality of the competent authority to issue notices for damage during public demonstration was being heard in the Supreme Court. He also pointed out that in a similar case from Kanpur, the Allahabad High Court recently put a stay on the recovery notice issued against an accused. 

“I have written to the Home Secretary, the DGP, the Commissioner and the DM, informing them that their act istotally illegal and has created a big threat to our lives, property and freedom,” he said. The government would be responsible for any untoward incident. He would approach the High Court against the hoardings, he added.

Minister defends action

State Cabinet minister and government spokesperson Siddharth Nath Singh, however, defended the Lucknow administration action of puuting up the hoardings. 

“#UP Name and Shame of rioters will put a deterrent under Yogi rule which is as per the law of the land”, he said . “Those screaming r habitual to b on the wrong side & wish not to differentiate between ‘Recovery and Conviction’,” he said on Twitter.

Akilesh statement

Samajwadi Party Akhilesh Yadav, in a statement issued through party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary, said the hoardings and posters labelling people as criminals without any “daleel and vakeel” cannot be considered “moral” in any way.

“With freedom to do such acts, the BJP government can harass anyone and anywhere”, Mr. Chaudhary said. He accused the BJP of being the face of Indian politics that considered its “dharma to put fear into democracy.”

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 3:39:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/up-police-put-up-hoardings-identifying-anti-caa-protesters-accused-of-violence/article30998121.ece

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