New Delhi: Eight members of the Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation, a charitable organisation of Meerut District in Uttar Pradesh, who said they were arrested for merely taking permission for protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) and the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), have been released from jail.
The eight members, along with Asif Iqbal, chairman of Khidmat-e-Khalq, were arrested on December 16 from Kithore town, 27 km away from Meerut district headquarters, when they went with a written letter to the local police station to seek prior permission for a 'peaceful protest' against CAA-NRC. They were booked and sent to jail for two days.
Speaking to NewsClick, Iqbal said: "We wanted to protest against CAA and NRC and wanted to take permission from local police station and for that, we went to Kithore police station around 10 a.m on December 16. We told a police official that protest is our fundamental rights under Article 14 and we have right to express our voice in a peaceful manner and asked them to allow us, but police detained us and took us to another police station and kept us there the whole day. In the evening, we were sent to Meerut jail."
Mashkoor Ahmad, who was also arrested, told NewsClick, "When we intervened and asked police where they were taking us they lied and told us that we will be released after a small interrogation. But they took us to Kharkhoda police station and kept us there till 5 p.m. They then said that we will be freed after a small medical check-up. Later, we were sent to Meerut district jail and were told that there was a challan under Section 151 of CrPC against us. Our mobile phones were snatched and without any intimation, we were sent to jail like as if we had committed a crime."
The foundation said it was planning to take legal action against the police.
Meanwhile, NewsClick made several calls to the Kithore police station in-charge to seek his comments, but these went unanswered.
After protests against the CAA-NRC erupted across the state on December 19, the Uttar Pradesh Police imposed prohibitory orders across the state, arrested at least 1,200 protestors, detained thousands – including minors – and opened fire in a number of places, leading to at least 23 deaths.
Meanwhile, till December 26, Meerut had reported a total of five deaths in the police crackdown — the second highest number of casualties in Uttar Pradesh after the December 20 crackdown. NewsClick met the families of the five killed. All of them alleged ‘target killing’ by the police.
Read Also: Families of 5 Killed in Meerut Allege 'Target Killing' by UP Police