Lucknow: Failing to get an appointment with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Magsaysay awardee Sandeep Pandey on Thursday wrote an open letter to him stating that the "vengeance" with which the state government was acting against protesting activists is condemnable and called for "more maturity and restraint".
Pandey, an academic and a social activist, has also alleged in his letter that "anarchist elements" were responsible for violence though action is being taken against people who have adopted peaceful means of protests and have faith in the country's Constitution.
"If you (CM) will send social activists, who have faith in the Constitution, to jail because your police in unable to identify the anarchist elements, then peaceful means of expressing dissent against the government in a democracy will be eliminated and anarchist elements will easily be able to mislead the common people," he said.
He pointed out that in FIRs registered over violence during protests in Lucknow, most of the accused are Muslims.
"If there will be a bias against Muslims in taking action, then how can they be expected to have confidence in the government-administration?" Pandey asked.
The letter claims that Pandey had on December 21 sought an appointment with the Chief Minister but didn't get a response from his office, due to which he is writing the open letter to make some comments on the approach of the UP government and administration on protests against the CAA ( Citizenship Amendment Act) and NRC (National Register of Citizens) in Lucknow and the rest of the state.
"The vengeance with which the UP government-administration is acting in response to the violence by anarchist elements which took place during protests is condemnable as more maturity and restraint is expected of any government-administration," Pandey said.
He said after the nationwide protests against CAA and NRC, Bhartiya Janata Party leaders are now asking the country's Muslim citizens not to worry.
Citing an FIR registered at Hazratganj police station in Lucknow, he said, "Out of the 39 accused, 36 are Muslims whereas non-Muslims participated in the protests in large numbers and out of 16 youth killed in UP due to bullet injuries, all are Muslims".
A pertinent question which needs to be asked is when lakhs of people assembled at other places in the country without any untoward incident, why did violence break out in UP, he asked.
Citing names, Pandey said, "Lawyer Mohammad Shoaib and retired IPS officer SR Darapuri have been arrested, people like me were under house arrest in Lucknow on December 19, the day on which maximum violence took place."
He said Congress spokesperson Sadaf Jafar was till the last moment before her arrest trying to pacify the youths who were indulging in violence of which there is proof.
Similarly, Deepak Mishra is a creative cultural activist and Dr Pawan Rao Ambedkar is a lecturer in Rae Bareli, he said.
He also cited names of certain activists known to him who were arrested in Varanasi, saying, "I can say with confidence that they can only be involved in peaceful protests".
"I will leave it to your wisdom. If you think it proper please reconsider your decision and withdraw the cases against above mentioned activists and release all innocent people," he said.