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UP: Finding No Evidence, Police Set to Release 6 Persons Arrested ‘in Haste’ After Kanpur Violence

Recently, a Saharanpur court had ordered release of 8 persons due to lack of evidence. They, too, were jailed after a protest against Prophet remarks made by BJP leaders.
SIT to Probe 1984 Kanpur Riots, Cases to Be Reviewed

Image for representational use only; Image Courtesy : The Indian Express

Lucknow: The Kanpur Police's act of “hasty and indiscriminate arrest” after registration of an FIR for violence during a protest on June 3 against the remarks made against Prophet Muhammad by suspended Bharatiya Janata Party spokespersons, has come under the scanner as the police has failed to produce any evidence against six of those arrested.

Last Friday, the officials concerned also took legal opinion from the public prosecutors on how to file the report. Now, after submission of a police report, the court will consider it and give its decision.

The families of the six persons had submitted CCTV footage and other evidence to the police that showed that the accused were not present at the site of violence on June 3. Following which, the police moved to file an application under Section 169 of the code of criminal procedure CrPC (that seeks release of the accused when evidence is deficient) in the local court, saying they have no evidence against the six persons, said sources.

As per reports, they (police) will soon file a closure report under Section 169 as no evidence or reasonable grounds for suspicion are found to connect the accused to the alleged crime. And if the accused is in custody, s/he shall be released on certain conditions, like executing a bond, providing a surety, appearing before the magistrate if called, etc., after filing of the report. 

Meanwhile, personal intervention by Police Commissioner (Kanpur) Vijay Singh Meena and Joint Police Commissioner Anand Prakash Tiwari has led to the release of six persons who were wrongly arrested in the case.  A committee was constituted on June 6, three days after the incident and since then the committee held five meetings till July 28 to understand the role of all the accused sent to the jail. 

In the evidence and facts that came before the police in the meeting of the screening committee, six people sent to the jail were falsely implicated, as per reports. Following which, the police have initiated the process of getting them out of jail.

 “My brother was not present where the violence took place. He went to offer Friday prayer to a mosque near our home and came back immediately. To prove my claim, I submitted footage of CCTV cameras installed at places where he was present when the protests took place," a family member of one of the accused told NewsClick on the condition of anonymity.

The family accused the local police for taking action ‘in haste’ and said their evidence was not considered during the screening committee. "I know a dozen people arrested by the police in connection who are innocent, but the charges are so serious that police will not go on the backfoot," he told NewsClick. 

Three cases were registered by the police at Beckonganj police station in Kanpur in this regard. More than 60 people have been arrested so far in the June 3 violence that erupted after Friday prayers following a call to close down the shops to protest against the remarks made on the Prophet by former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, at the Parade and its adjoining areas, including Nai Sadak.

Later, police identified the three “conspirators” of violence as Mukhtar Baba, Hayat Zafar Hashmi and Haji Wasi. Mukhtar Baba runs outlets of a food chain ‘Baba Biryani’ in Kanpur, Hayat Zafar is chief of a local outfit, Maulana Mohammad Ali (MMA) Jauhar Fans Association, while Wasi a local builder.

The police on Thursday invoked the National Security Act (NSA) against Hayat Zafar Hashmi. The police have also taken action under the Gangster Act against Mukhtar Baba, Aqeel Khichdi and Shafiq of D2 gang responsible for funding Hashmi for the violence.

This is not an isolated instance of alleged high-handedness of the Uttar Pradesh police. Recently, a local court in Saharanpur ordered the release of eight persons who were arrested for their alleged role in violence on June 10, during a protest against the remarks made by Nupur Sharma about Prophet Mohammed. The court order stated that the inquiry of the Investigation Officer (IO) into the case against the eight accused, who the court released, was faulty, and they were produced in the court without any proper reasons or evidence.

Read Also: 'Treated Like Terrorists, Spent 22 Days in Jail': Eight Muslim Men Released After Police Fail to Produce Evidence

They were released after spending 22 days in jail after the police declared that there was no evidence against them and the local court cleared them. They had claimed they were treated like "terrorists" and called "anti-national" for the crime they never did, as reported by NewsClick.

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