The crackdown by state government comes days after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had warned that he would take “revenge” from those vandalising the public properties during protests.
A government spokesperson said that the shops would be seized if the involvement of owners is confirmed during investigations.
CM Adityanath had warned that the government would auction the properties of those involved in vandalism to recover the losses.The Outlook
Salman Sayeed, Congress leader, whose four cars were also allegedly burnt down by the same mob, said the administration is “one-sided.” “The aim is to ruin the Muslims financially,” he says, pointing at the arbitrary sealing of shops owned by Muslims, who allegedly participated in the protest.
A local lawyer requesting anonymity says the local MP was trying to communalise what was essentially an anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protest. “The counter could be pro-(Citizenship) Act protest. Why to make it anti-Muslim and target their business,” he says. “It seems like completing the unfinished agenda of the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013.” According to official sources, FIRs have been registered against 258 named and 6000 unnamed persons. Around 57 shops have been sealed by the district administration.Anuj Kumar, The Hindu
What explains Uttar Pradesh’s extremely high casualties?
Political sanction for the police violence, Muslims in Nehtaur town are convinced. Two young men died of bullet injuries, two young men are still battling for life in city hospitals, 10 people have been arrested, many have left the town out of fear.
“This, when we did not even protest,” said Mohd Zaid, whose father Rashid Ahmed was the chairman of Nehtaur for 17 years before he died recently. “Not a single protest meeting was held in this town. Imagine, had we protested, what would have been the outcome.”
Several residents of Naiza Sarai echoed Rafeeq Ahmed’s account. The lathi-charge began unprovoked, they insisted. It was spearheaded by the men in civil dress, they said, speculating that they were members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and other Hindutva organisations recruited in recent years as “police mitras” – friends of the police.
Once the lathi-charge and tear-gas shelling began, however, young Muslim men clashed with the police – only to find bullets being fired at them.Supriya Sharma, Scroll.in
Residents claim what followed barely six hours later was a police crackdown in the locality, with personnel entering the lanes of Khalapar and destroying private property with hammers and lathis. Residents, most of whom wished to remain anonymous, claimed more than 80 policemen, both in uniform and civil clothes, barged into homes, broke windows and destroyed items.
Two kilometres away, the steps leading to Abdul Karim mosque are still littered with broken glass. Eyewitnesses claimed police had stormed the mosque premises Friday night and broken several items inside.
“There was a group of madrasa students who had come from Gujarat and were sleeping inside the prayer hall. They were woken up by the sound of glass windows being broken. They rushed to hide upstairs when police barged in,” said the imam.
Local residents claimed at least 70 families “have left till the situation cools down”.
The family of local resident Noor Muhammad (26) claimed he was “shot by police” on Friday and referred to Meerut Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. An official from the Meerut Medical College confirmed the man had been brought in with a bullet wound to the head. The family claims they were not allowed to bury the body in Muzaffarnagar citing law and order problems, and buried him in Meerut instead. “Noor had gone to eat something and was coming home when the clashes erupted. He was shot by a security official for no fault. He has a one-year-old daughter and a pregnant wife. He was born here, he was killed here, but he could not be buried here,” said his brother Umardaraz.Amil Bhatnagar, The Indian Express
The residents said there had been no protest. They told me that they had only stepped out of their homes to attend the Friday prayers. The Muslim residents of Nehtaur relayed horrific accounts of how the police had fired at people who had gathered for the prayers; beat up the men on street; broken into their homes; ransacked their belongings; molested the women occupants and threatened them with rape; and arrested the men. The police showed no mercy to even old people during its rampage. Men in civil clothes accompanied the police and brutally assaulted the residents.Sagar, The Caravan
Senior Supreme Court advocate Sanjay Hegde said “confiscation of property is normally after a criminal trial. So this kind of action seems to be legally suspect and would be subject to further legal challenges.”
He added that it appeared that “(UP) administration is going ahead nevertheless just as a measure to curb dissent.”
Hegde further said that “normally provisions for forfeiture of property are only after the end of a criminal trial. So there cannot be any ipso facto confiscation”.
Another senior advocate C.U. Singh termed the action blatantly illegal. “This is grossly unconstitutional and illegal because it is not supported by any law and it results in pre-judging people without even the benefit of a fair trial.”
Singh charged that the action was being taken merely on the basis of an allegation. “It is particularly pernicious in this case because there is a serious allegation that a lot of the violence was instigated by third parties and by the police themselves. In fact, it was also alleged that it was perpetrated by the police themselves.”Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar, The Wire
Updated on 28.12.2019, 19:45 CET.