Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh police seems to be on a FIR registering spree against people who have been sitting on peaceful protest against the newly passed Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Early this week, the police in Lucknow registered three FIRs in connection with women sitting on protest at the Hussainabad clock tower, which has reached the ninth day with no signs of the women backing off.
Again, late Wednesday, the Lucknow police registered a different FIR at the Gomti Nagar police station against five named persons and about 100 to 125 unidentified women for unlawful assembly at the Ujriyao graveyard in the Gomti Nagar vicinity.
On Friday, the police again registered an FIR in Lucknow on participants of a rally held in support of the sit-in by women against CAA and National Register of Citizens (NRC), taking the total number of FIRs filed in the city to five.
In all its FIRs, the Lucknow police have mentioned unlawful assembly owing to the imposition of Section 144 CrPC as the main reason behind the case and have even expressed apprehension about “untoward incidents” owing to the large gathering of the women.
In Etawah, the police on late Tuesday night registered a case against 12 named persons, 150 to 200 unnamed women and 600-700 unnamed males for gathering and protesting against CAA.
On Friday, citing violation of Section 144, the police slapped cases against 150 unnamed persons, including students of Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia, in connection with an anti-CAA protest in Shah Jamal area on January 23.
Incidentally, no senior police official was ready to speak on this issue when Newsclick called them on more than 10 occasions. They, however, released a press statement saying the police had to use ‘Halka Bal Prayog’ (minor lathi-charge) to disperse the mob in Etawah as they were not stepping bac,k despite several warnings and someone from the mob threw two-three stones on the police force.
Footage accessed by Newsclick from credible local sources in Etawah show police hurling filthiest abuses and terming the protestors as ‘pattharbaaz’ (stone-pelters).
Shabana Khatoon, 23, a graduate student in Etawah, when asked about the incident, said, “We were headed towards the Red Cross Society office to protest against this discriminatory law passed by the government, but we were not allowed our constitutional right as the police reached there and started beating people with batons. They did not even spare elderly women and were hurling choicest abuses at us.”
“This is not the democracy we have studied about in school. We were not allowed to protest peacefully and this is not the ‘idea of India’ we are proud about,” she said with tears in her eyes.
Noted poet Munawwar Rana, when asked about the FIR registered against his two daughters for mobilising women for the protest, said: “I am proud of my daughters and of myself for producing such daughters who are raising their voice against this discriminatory law, which is disturbing the communal fabric of the nation.”
“I will go and salute the dead bodies of my daughter even if they are killed in the protest. A mother and nation cannot be changed and we Muslims of India are not going to accept this law,” Rana said, adding: “I also want to give a message to the Muslim community to not get distracted because the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government keeps pushing issues like Triple Talaq, Article 370 and even this, only to keep the debate on real issues away.”
Meanwhile, the police in Prayagraj, formerly Allahabad, has issued notices to over 100 protestors saying that strict action would be taken against them if anything untoward happens. In Varanasi, too, an FIR has been registered but police refused to comment on it.
Protests Gather More Support
Members of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) in Lucknow formed a human chain to support the cause and mobilise more women to join the protest. On Friday, Islamic scholar Dr Kalbe Sadiq, who has been bedridden since the last couple of years, reached the Hussainabad clock tower to express his support to the protesting women.n
Reacting on the statement by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath targeting Muslims and saying that ”men are sleeping at home while women are sitting on streets,” the veteran scholar said: “We know his background and all I would say is that he should keep control of his tongue.”
It may be mentioned here that the ‘Azaadi’ (freedom) slogans got huge resonance across the state after Adityanath said in his speech that those raising ‘Azaadi’ slogans would be booked for treason.
Usma Parveen, a young protestor in Lucknow, told Newsclick: “The more you suppress our voice, the more vocal we will be. Our forefathers sacrificed their lives for the freedom of India, and we are happy to go to jail for saving the country from this controversial law which will give a communal jolt to the nation.”
She said the “Azaadi slogan was given by Mahatma Gandhi, Chandrasekhar Azad and other great leaders. What is the problem with this government? We are not afraid of any threats.”
Lucknow University May Include CAA in Syllabus
Shashi Shukla, Head of the Department of Political Science at Lucknow University has claimed that the CAA may soon be included in the course as there was considerable need for clarity among people.
“There is a proposal for a paper under the subject ‘Contemporary issue in Indian politics’. It is under consideration to include CAA in this paper as well. We will include it in the syllabus and put it before the board as a proposal. If passed, it will be sent to the Academic Council. The best way is to educate students about it, he told the media.