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Common Accused, Same Sequence — The Curious Case of Kanpur Violence FIRs

Tarique Anwar |
FIRs against the same set of people for a series of acts that form the same transaction are aimed at paving a way to book them under the Gangster Act and NSA, alleged lawyers of the accused.
Kanpur Violence

Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh)/New Delhi: The coincidences that emerge when police authorities act at the behest of their political masters can be amusing. But, at the same time, these may well be a case of ‘method in the madness’.

A case in point is the June 3 Kanpur violence, which had erupted during a protest against the derogatory remarks made by now suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma against Prophet Mohammad on a private TV news channel. What is strange is that the police have booked several people for the same offence in two first information reports (FIRs) filed in one police station.

Surprisingly, the names are mentioned in same sequence in both cases that have been registered on the complaints of two police officials.

Filed on June 4 at 03:50 a.m (at least 13 hours after the incident) by one Nawab Ahmad, inspector in-charge, Becon Ganj police station, Kanpur East (Kanpur Nagar Police Commissionerate), FIR number 0042/2022 has 36 named persons and 450 are unidentified accused who allegedly indulged in brick-batting, attacked the police with explosives and tried to breach peace and tranquillity.

The case has been registered under Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, being armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot), 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 333 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 336 (doing an act that endangers human life or the personal safety of others), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 504 (intentionally insults and provocation to cause break of public peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The accused have also been slapped with Section 7 of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 that deals with loitering or doing any similar act at or near a place where a person carries on business with an intent to deter people from entering or approaching the place.

Lodged on June 4 at 06:30 a.m (nearly 16 hours after the incident) in the same police station under the same sections, FIR number 0044/2022 mentioned 19 names and 350 unnamed accused.

There are 19 accused who are common in both FIRs. This is despite the fact that the two cases are based on the complaints filed by two different police officials at a gap of nearly three hours. What’s more, even the sequence of the names of the accused who find mention in the two cases are same.

If this is just a coincidence, it sure is a completely inexplicable one.


However, some legal experts feel this could be a “mischievous attempt” to harass the accused and book them under stringent and draconian legislations such as the Gangsters Act and the National Security Act (NSA).

Ruling out the possibility of any coincidence, they alleged that naming the same individuals for the “same transaction” in two separate FIRs registered at the same police stations could be aimed at declaring them as history-sheeters — a prerequisite to invoke the U.P. Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986, which empowers the court and the state government to send a person behind bars for two-10 years and order attachment of his/her movable or immovable property, among others.

Declaring the accused as serial offenders would also help the government establish that these persons are a threat to national security and public order and book them under the draconian NSA, the legal experts alleged.

The law empowers the Centre and state governments to detain a person for one year. The governments can also extend this period of detention, it is felt.

A person detained under the NSA can be held for 10 days without being told the charges against him/her.

Recall that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officials to take “such actions against those who are guilty that it sets an example so that no one commits a crime or takes law into their hands in future.”

“Strictest action will be taken against the anti-social elements involved in efforts to spoil the atmosphere in various cities in the past few days,” he said on Twitter, while issuing directives to officials.


In a series of tweets in Hindi, the UP chief minister continued: “Bulldozer action will continue against criminals and mafias. There is no place for such anti-social people in a civilised society. No innocent should be harassed, but not a single guilty should be spared,” he said in a series of tweets in Hindi.


“Those who patronise the mafia will be dealt with strictly and not a single attempt to disturb the atmosphere will be accepted. The conspirators/accused will be identified and arrested at the earliest. Legal action will be taken against such people under NSA or Gangster Act,” the UP CM said further.

Responding to recent events, Advocate Mohammad Yaqub Qureshi, who is representing five of the 50 accused arrested so far, said he had come across 21 people who had been taken into custody in connection with the two FIRs. The police action, he said, was violation of Article 20 (2) of the Constitution of India that states “no person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once”.

“Sections 219 and 220 of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) clearly states that if allegations are so connected together as to form the same transaction, then the accused will be charged with and tried at one trial for every such offence,” he told NewsClick.

Qureshi said the police seemed to be conveniently ignoring the third FIR (number 0043/2022) filed at the same Becon Ganj police station at 05:36 am on June 4 by a private individual, Mukesh, under the same Sections of the IPC and the Criminal Law (Amedment) Act. He says in his complaint that “when some people realised that Chandeshwar Hata will be eliminated today, 8-10 people started pelting stones coming from the other side in self-defence. More people came from Hata after knowing about the attack, and, in private defence, threw leftover crackers of Diwali towards the mob to scare them away”.

READ ALSO: Kanpur Violence: FIR Reveals ‘Retaliatory’ Stone-Pelting, Fire-Cracker Hurling, Yet ‘One-Sided’ Action So Far

Chandeshwar Hata is a predominantly Hindu locality, inhabited by dalits and Other Backward Classes, near Parade Chowk — where clashes took place on June 3.

“Under Section 105 of the Evidence Act, the burden of proof lies on the complainant — who is making an allegation. It is the court which will decide whether it was self-defence or not. The police were supposed to file an FIR against both sides and file a chargesheet following a fair probe. Unfortunately, it is not happening in this case. One-sided actions, targeting of minorities, are being undertaken by the investigating agency,” he alleged.

Advocate Najmussaqib Khan, a lawyer at the Allahabad High Court, who generally deals with cases registered under UAPA and NSA, said slapping multiple FIRs against the same set of people for a series of acts that form the same transaction is aimed at paving a way to book them under the Gangster Act and NSA.

“Mentioning their names in two or more FIRs will enable the police to declare them repeat offenders to be prosecuted under the stringent Gangster Act and the NSA. The police have done so because the accused don’t have any previous criminal record,” he claimed.

However, the allegation was dismissed by former Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police Vikram Singh who said criminal history of a person is no condition to prosecute him under NSA.

“First time offenders can be detained under the law if the district magistrate is satisfied that the person prejudicial to the country’s security and the maintenance of public order. There are several such instances across the country,” he said.

When asked about naming same people in different FIRs for the same offence, he said only the local police are best placed to answer it.

“If the petitioners sense any mischief on part of the police, they are at liberty to appeal in the court to club the FIRs,” he added.

When Khan was asked about the ex-top cop’s arguments with regard to invocation of the Gangster Act and NSA, he said the spirit of the NSA was that the person against whom it was being invoked was a bad element and a threat to national security.

“How can a person be declared a bad element overnight without he or she having any criminal history or their mere involvement, even the charges are considered to be true, in one crime? Based on the reaction of an accused to an incident, it cannot be decided that he or she is a threat to the nation or the law and order. His or her alleged action can be reactionary or unintentional. If you analyse cases where people have been booked under NSA or other stringent laws, you will find a pattern that they have been named in different FIRs,” he added.


When asked about filing of two FIRs against same people on same charges, Uttar Pradesh Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said one should not to pre-assume anything.

“What has been done and is being done is as per law. Our actions are religion neutral,” he told the media.

When asked about the allegation of “one-sided” police action, he said, “There was no two religious sides in the violence. The protesters clashed with the police; and therefore, actions are being taken against them. When the clash took place with the police, why will we take actions against the other side? In addition, no FIR has been filed by the other side, then from where does the question of action arise?”

Talking to NewsClick on condition of anonymity, an official of the Kanpur police said apart from a “few people”, there are others who are not common in the FIRs.

“Since the mob was unlawfully assembled at one place, the officials named those who were leading, provoking and indulging in violence in the complaints. Our investigations are on, and we will describe roles played by every individual in our chargesheet,” he claimed.

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