Patna: Parents of five minor children and family members of three women including one pregnant, who were arrested by Bihar Police during the protests against CAA-NRC in Aurangabad are running from pillar to post to get them released on bail. The police have charged them for creating violence during the protests on December 21 when Rashtriya Janata Dal had called for a shutdown. The families of the arrested are helpless and claim that those arrested by police were innocent and that they have been framed in false charges.
A total of 46 people were arrested and jailed by police in Aurangabad after peaceful protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) turned violent last month. “Police in its crackdown against those protesting against CAA and NRC, targeted Muslim populated Maula Shah Ganj, Quraishi Mohalla, Islam Toli, New Qaji Mohalla and Pathan Toli. They forcibly picked up and arrested innocent people and also named them as accused in the FIR for attacking police and violence during the shutdown called by RJD,” said Syed Kaleem (name changed), whose brother is one of those arrested.
“My brother is innocent, he was not at all involved in the protest and had 0nothing to do with violence. But he was arrested and named as accused in the FIR by police for creating violence. We are a peaceful family, occupied in a small business,” Kaleem told NewsClick over telephone from Aurangabad, about 150 km from Patna.
Kaleem said he had met the Aurangabad Superintendent of Police and pleaded with him to relook into the case and charges against his brother. “My brother’s life would be spoiled if he does not get bail soon because our joint cosmetic business would be badly affected. I am trying and meeting district administration officers for help. The SP has assured me of an enquiry into my request, let's hope for justice.”
Also read: ‘My Son Was Killed for Being a Muslim, His Crime Was he Joined an Anti-CAA-NRC Protest’
Salim Ahmad (name changed to protect identity), father of two minor children arrested by police, has been going through sleepless nights for the last 15 days. He was initially reluctant to speak due to fear of repercussions, however he told NewsClick, “We are completely restless, worried and tense as my children arrested by police are minor. Their age is 17,14 and 12. Three of them were playing near the home of a close relative when police entered in the residential locality following violence during the protest. As they were afraid of the police, they were hiding inside a room but police first beat them and then arrested them. What is disturbing is that in the FIR, they were described as adult as per the age mentioned, which is not true.”
Another parent of a minor boy arrested from Pathan Toli locality said their son was inside the room, watching TV but police forcibly entered and picked up him and named him as accused for pelting stones at police.
Mohd Meraj, advocate of Salim’s sons, said, “In fact, there are 11 underage among the arrested by police and the local court has accepted the plea for their trial in the Juvenile Justice Board.”
A woman of Quraishi Mohalla told NewsClick, on condition of anonymity, that four innocent women from their locality were arrested on cooked up charges of violence, adding that, “Of them one woman is pregnant, we are worried for her.”
She said that family members of these four women are going through a difficult phase as there is no hope for their release on bail. “Children of arrested women are upset and fail to understand why their mothers were arrested from inside the house,” she said.
Opposition parties including RJD, Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) and Communist Party of India (Marxist) have questioned the role of state police in Aurangabad and termed it as a brutal attack on those protesting against CAA and NRC.
CPI (ML) leader Dhirendar Jha said that party workers staged statewide protests on Saturday, January 4 against police brutalities in Aurangabad.
Criticising the police action, Bihar Opposition leader, Tejashwi Yadav, had said on December 28, “Police under Nitish Kumar is terrorising Muslims and vandalising public property. The police has even told residents, ‘You want azaadi? Wait, we'll give you azaadi”.
After protest against CAA and NRC turned violent following clashes between two rival groups in Aurangabad, police had raided several Muslim-dominated residential localities and arrested 46 people. Dozens of people who were detained were released later.
Meanwhile, peaceful protests against the CAA and NRC continue in Bihar. The state has till now witnessed two shutdowns—first by the Left parties supported by the other opposition parties on December 19 and again on December 21 by RJD, supported by all opposition parties and Left parties.
Also read: After UP, Questions Raised on Bihar Police’s Role During Protest Against CAA-NRC