Skip to main content

Uttar Pradesh: Use of armed civil clothesmen has created sense of terror among people

Counterview Desk
A fact-finding team of the Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS), on a visit to western Uttar Pradesh to investigate violent incidents between December 18 and 20, 2019 in several towns, has found that protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) were sought to be suppressed with unusual brutality.
Pointing towards how shots were fired on the head and the chest, the WSS team said, "Muslim youth were specifically targeted. Unofficial orders were given to the hospitals to delay or deny immediate medical care to the injured. Post mortems were delayed and across the region none of the bodies were allowed to be taken back home to be buried."
"Most chillingly", regretted the team's report, "The use of armed civil clothed men euphemistically called 'police mitr' (friend of police) has created a sense of terror among the people in the region."

Text:

A five member team from Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) conducted a fact finding visit in four districts of Western Uttar Pradesh -- Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Bijnor -- on February 1and 2, 2020 to document the situation 40 days after the incidents of alleged police brutalities, which occurred on December 18, 19 and 20, 2019 in light of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The team met the people who have lost their family members to police firing and also those who were arrested and/or detained in the days following the incidents.

Meerut:

On December 20, a protest was called following the Friday afternoon prayers. Permission for this protest was cancelled at the last moment. The police and paramilitary personnel, including Rapid Action Force (RAF), had taken over the Lisadi Main Road which is far away from the protest site. When people were returning from the evening prayers, the police began to lathi-charge.
The returning crowd facing lathi-charge responded with pelting. The police and the paramilitary opened fire at the protesters; besides tear gas and wanton destruction of shop windows and the road divider, six persons were shot and killed, each bullet entering through the head, neck or chest.
Mohammad Mohsin, 30 year old, was shot in the chest. When taken to Santosh Hospital he was denied admission. By the time he was taken to the government medical hospital, he was dead. His young son doesn’t know his father is dead.
Zahir Ahmed, 45 year old worked as a fodder collector, was shot in the head when he has stepped out for a smoke ten meters from his home. He was denied admission in the private hospital and was dead by the time he was taken to the government hospital. He leaves behind a 22 year young daughter. Asif, 30 year old tyre mechanic had gone to get a work order. He was shot from behind in his neck. He is survived by three children and a wife who is seven months pregnant.
Tanvir (name changed), 24 year old, shot in the head, denied admission in private hospital, left on road and declared brought dead at the government hospital. Brother struggled for almost 24 hours to get the body from the mortuary and was forced to bury him hurriedly in a burial ground away from the family.
Aasif, 20 year old e-rickshaw driver, was shot in the head. His family was forced to bury his body away from their burial ground. In each case where the wounded person was taken to a private hospital, the hospital staff informed that they had been ordered by the administration not to admit persons with bullet injuries.
The post mortem reports were given to the families only after the Allahabad High Court order condemning police inaction and the reports had several serious inconsistencies. Residents of Lisadi and Hapur road, spoke of men in civil clothes who accompanied the police and the paramilitary.
Police continues to take rounds with sirens at odd hours that creates panic in the area mainly because of all that has transpired since the third week of December
The residents have installed gates at the entrance of every lane because they now live under the continuous looming threat of violence. Police continues to take rounds with sirens at odd hours that creates panic in the area mainly because of all that has transpired since the third week of December.

Muzaffarnagar:

On December 20, Noor Mohammad, a 25 year old rickshaw driver, stopped his vehicle and was returning home when he was shot in the head near Mahavir Chowk. Police refused to allow body to be buried near his home and his uncle was asked to take responsibility for all untoward incidents. The uncle refused. The body was buried in a forested area near Meerut.
Due to extreme economic distress, his young child and pregnant wife have returned to her maternal home. Fear of retributive action by the police appears to have aggravated in the area over the last few days with many refusing to speak on record. Meenakshi Chowk has several banners with photos and appeal to identify wanted rioters.

Shamli:

There was to be a protest in Shamli on December 19 after the mid-day prayers. People gathered and presented a memorandum to the police at the madrasa. On the night of December 19, several police personnel entered Mamour village near Kairana in Shamli district in search of a man called Sajid.
They entered homes by breaking open the main gate, broke household items, asked men to remove skullcaps and women to reveal faces (“topi utaaro, chehra dikhao”), beat the young men, arrested seven people, including father and brother of Sajid, and charged them under sections 151 of the IPC.
Many days after the arrests the police added the charge of Section 153 IPC. On the same night, between 1 and 3 am in Goguan village, they came for Munnavar, Gufran and Sarvar; all three are in the wholesale business of medicines. Homes of those picked up were raided; jewellery and motorcycle were taken by the police from Gufran’s home.
In both these villages the police have returned several times to raid, interrogate and harass the family and, in the case of Sajid, threatened to kill him if the family doesn’t cooperate. All the families depend on agricultural production as the primary source of their income.
In Taprana village, Naved, mid 30s, was picked up late at night, taken to the police station and electric shocks were administered on his head, neck and legs alongside beatings while being interrogated.
In Dehsani Islampur village, the head of the madrasa, Maulvi Mohammad Saddam was arrested at the police station where he went looking for his friends and brothers who were not reachable. Mohammad Rizwan was picked up in the intervening night before the 19th and beaten at the police station with batons and leather planks.
A student, Mohammad Fukran, was picked up and kept in jail for an extended period of time for asking the police to explain why he was being detained. Israr from Kairana was charged with being a part of the anti-CAA protests on December 19 when he was in fact visiting the jail where those arrested the day before were lodged. After producing the jail entry records for December 19, he was granted anticipatory bail.
The killings of largely poor Muslim youth and looting of well off households in Muslim majority areas has shaken the Muslim community
In total, 34 people were arrested between December 18 and 19, 2019, and all charges were filed while each of the detained were being taken in the police vehicle to the jail. None of them were produced before the magistrate within 24 hours of arrest as it should have been, they were simply made to sign certain papers on the road.
They were charged with several sections including sections 151 and 153 of the IPC. All of them were released within four to 24 days after they furnished bail bonds. Their families continue to face regular harassment by the police. There are also instances of police implicating young men with false charges and asking for 1 lakh bond money each to stay away from being arrested.

Bijnor:

In Nehtaur, following the Friday afternoon prayers on 20th December, the police lathi-charged and opened fire at the crowd returning home. Several young men were injured and at least two died.
Mohammad Anas, a 21 year old boy who worked in Delhi and was visiting home, was shot in the eye over one km away from where the lathi-charge was happening, while he was on the way to his uncle’s place to get some milk. His family was not allowed to bury the body in Nehtaur. He was buried 20 kms away under police supervision.
Mohammad Suleiman, a 20 year old student preparing for civil services exams in Delhi and had come home as he was not well. He was picked up by the police outside the mosque and shot in the chest at close range in a lane nearby. His bare body was found in a by-lane and declared brought dead at the government hospital in Bijnor. His family was threatened with dire consequences if they tried to take his body back home and were forced to bury him elsewhere. The role of police mitr was ubiquitous.

Observations:

On the three days in question, a pattern of police action appears on the record. In the name of preventing protests, the police was armed and prepared to kill. The course of gradual escalation of force was evident and immediate shots to the head and chest was preferred.
Muslim youth were specifically targeted. Unofficial orders were given to the hospitals to delay or deny immediate medical care to the injured. Post mortems were delayed and across the region none of the bodies were allowed to be taken back home to be buried. The post mortem reports were released only after the Allahabad High Court order and contain glaring inconsistencies.
Police actions do not appear to correspond to the threat of violence and the police appear to have aggravated and escalated the tensions in several regions. Destruction of CCTV cameras and breaking of glass windows, clearly from the outside, indicates pre-planning and the presence of non-police personnel alongside the state forces.
Refusal to file FIRs and the threat of retributive action on those filing complaints including the targeting of hundreds of known persons and several thousand unnamed persons, including the all pervasive threat of arrests and detentions, has created a climate of fear that is visible and debilitating trust.
The killings of largely poor Muslim youth, looting of well off households in Muslim majority areas and the targeted harassment of identified community leaders, including heads of madrasas and maulvis, has shaken the Muslim community, and robbed the sense of security of women and children, in the area.
The notices sent in the name of further interrogation and the scope for claiming compensation for damaged property has further eroded the trust of the people in the police and administration. 
Most chillingly, the use of armed civil clothed men euphemistically called police mitr has created a sense of terror among the people in the region. Such State sponsored vigilante groups add to the impunity of the State and the police, and ensure perpetuation violence and terror.

Demands:

  1. End the reign of terror prevailing in the region
  2. Immediate stop to arrests and detentions of Muslim youth in Uttar Pradesh.
  3. Release all persons arbitrarily detained in the name of Anti-CAA protests and cancel the unnamed list of people the police has.
  4. Withdrawal of false cases filed against Muslim youth.
  5. Registration of FIRs on all cases of deaths and detentions.
  6. Constitution of a team of retired judges to investigate cases of police atrocities and excesses.
  7. Immediate discontinuation of the State police handpicked, backed and supported vigilante group called the ‘police mitr’ by the UP Police.

Comments

TRENDING

North Gujarat gram panchayat bars villagers from dealing with Muslim hawkers, traders

By Our Representative  A gram panchayat in North Gujarat has barred its residents not to buy anything from Muslim traders and hawkers. An order of the Waghasan group gram panchayat of Tharad taluka of Banaskantha district dated June 30 states that the decision has been taken in the wake of beheading of a Hindu tailor after he posted a derogatory writeup on Prophet Mohammad in Udaipur. The gram panchayat resolution says, anyone seen buying or selling any commodity from a Muslim hawker or trader would be fined Rs 5,100. Bringing this to light, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee, in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, says, the state government should take legal action against the panchayat chief who has signed the “unjust” order. The letter says, the act of the sarpanch and other signatories is a violation of rule of law of the state and threat to peace, pointing out, the move is in violation of Article 15 of the Constitution, which says that none

Unlike Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India: Ukrainian scholar tells 'Indian friends'

Counterview Desk In an open letter to "dear Indian friends", Anastasia Piliavsky, born in Odessa, Ukraine, studied at Boston and Oxford Universities (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and now teaches at King’s College, London, has said that she faces "deep moral dilemma", personally and professionally, over the "astonishingly unified Indian response to the war in Ukraine." Based on her interaction with a "number of thoughtful and caring Indian friends", in this letter, she says, she is "reeling at the ubiquitous silence at, justifications of or outright support for Putin’s terror, which now prevails in India, at the ubiquitous #IStandWithPutin and #istandwithrussia hashtags." She insists, India must understand, "Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India. Soviet leaders, beginning with (the Ukrainian) Nikita Khrushchev – who declared hindi rusi bhai bhai – built up deep political and cultural exchange with India." Text : I

PLFS data: Is rising employment good news? Deeper analysis suggests contrary results

By Ishwar Chandra Awasthi, Puneet Kumar Shrivastav*  Results of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), 2020-21 , released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India (GoI) on June 14, 2022, show improvement in work force participation rate (WPR) and labour force participation rate (LFPR) and declining unemployment rate. Four rounds of data have been released from 2017-18 to 2020-21 based on PLFS. The general trend in the last four rounds clearly shows consistent increase in WPR and LFPR and falling unemployment rates by usual status (PS+SS). Though increase in WPR and LFPR is reported highest in 2019-20 over 2018-19, yet rising trend in these two key indicators continues throughout, and similarly fall in unemployment is registered highest in 2019-20 over 2018-19. Clearly, the recent results give some solace and relief after unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic that has entailed enormous loss of human lives and livelihoods and crippled economic activit

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Chennai residents 'suffering': Faulty design, implementation of storm water project

By NS Venkataraman*  The Greater Chennai Corporation is now implementing storm water drainage project in 559 roads, covering a distance of 1033 kilometres, which cost around Rs 4,070 crore. For this massive project, which is targeted to be completed between April and September this year, huge loan has been availed from World Bank, Asian Development Bank and others. Several technocrats have pointed out that the project has been designed with outdated technology and quality of the implementation is so poor that the residents have been put to great hardships. As part of the project, digging of the road has been done to around 5 to 6 feet deep and width of around 4 to 5 feet. The drains are being constructed using steel reinforced cement concrete with two walls on either side with provisions for manhole, chute etc. This has been done in front of several houses leaving little space between the gate of the house and that of the drainage structure. As the work has been going on for mor

'Drop all falsed charges': 150 citizens demand early release of AltNews co-founder

Counterview Desk  About 150 concerned citizens have demanded the release of Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checkng newsportal AltNews, arrested over a 2018 tweet which allegedly hurt religious sentiments, even as booking for criminal conspiracy and having received foreign funds in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Denied bail last weekend and sent to 14-day judicial custody, the concerned citizens, in a statement, regretted that while the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Delhi police on a petition filed on behalf of Zubair challenging the legality and propriety of his police remand and the seizure of his electronic devices, the “frivolous case” continues. Excerpts: The illegal arrest of Mr. Mohammed Zubair happened on June 27, 2022, by the Delhi Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity over a tweet from 2018. The IPC Sections included 153(a) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race,

Prime Minister's 'affordable' housing policy fails to help Gujarat slum dwellers: Study

By Rajiv Shah  A new study on the implementation of one of the major policy initiatives for the urban poor by the Narendra Modi government after it came to power, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), has said that in Gujarat, which happens to be the Prime Minister’s home state, has quoted state officials as “confirming” that no progress towards tenure regularization, a key requirement for providing housing to the state’s slum dwellers. Stating that this particularly true of smaller town, the study, carried out by the non-profit Homes in the City (HIC), which is based in Bhuj, district headquarter of Kutch that saw a devastating earthquake in 2001, says, the failure to provide affordable housing is there despite the fact that there has been “significant demand” in all the 83 out of 153 Gujarat municipalities studied by experts involved in the study. According to the study, out f a total of 1.41 lakh demands for housing under the Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC) category, 94,232 (66.7%)

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

'Contractor-official nexus led to RTI activist's murder': Fact-finding team seeks probe

Courtyard inside of PWD office where Ranjeet Soni was killed Counterview Desk  A fact-finding team* visited Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh (MP) on June 19, 2022 to meet with the family of Ranjeet Soni, who was shot dead on June 2, 2022 inside the premises of the PWD office in Vidisha. The objective was to gather information about the circumstances surrounding the death of Ranjeet Soni and his work on exposing corruption through the use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. A report prepared by the team members says that Ranjeet had been extensively using the RTI Act to access information from the government, and upon receiving documents showing misuse of public funds or corruption, he was filing complaints to various authorities including the Lokyukta, Publi Works Department (PWD) and the Chief Minister’s Office. It notes, Ranjeet used to work as a contractor and often undertook government works in collaboration with other contractors, including those being investigated for his murder. A f

Electricity Bill: Centre's reform measures contain 'carrot and stick package' for states

Counterview Desk  The Peoples’ Commission on Public Sector and Public Services (PCPSPS), claiming to be a network of eminent academics, jurists, erstwhile administrators, trade unionists and social activists, seeking consultations with stakeholders with those who are against the government’s decision to monetise, disinvest and privatise public assets/enterprises, has said that the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill-2022 will have far-reaching impacts on the finances of states. Insisting that the proposed Bill would lead to “assault on India’s federal structure”, in a statement, it says, it would weaken the finances of states’ power distribution companies, have adverse impact on utility employees, cripple the states' finances, impose a heavy cost burden on the smaller subsidized consumers (especially farmers), and benefit only corporate business houses. “States cannot afford to ignore the far-reaching implications of the Bill on their economy, finances, agricultural and industria