Lucknow: Rihai Manch Questions Slapping Of Gangsters Act Against Anti-CAA Protesters
Syed Khalique Ahmed | India Tomorrow
LUCKNOW, JULY 8—Well-known human rights organization-Rihai Manch-has questioned the slapping of the UP Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act 1986, against anti-CAA protesters in various districts of the state.
Speaking to India Tomorrow, its general secretary Rajiv Yadav has described the action of the state government against the anti-CAA protesters as “politics of revenge”, intended to throttle democracy in a state which is much bigger in terms of area as well as population than many countries of the world.
The Lucknow police had booked a total of 27 anti-CAA activists under the dreaded Gangsters Act after the violence on December 19 at Parivartan Chowk. The police slapped the controversial Act as, according to police, the protesters had “conspired as a gang to commit anti-government activities causing panic among the public”.
Among those booked under the Gangsters Act in Lucknow are Irfan, Mohammed Shoaib, Mohammed Sharif, Mohammed Amir, Mohammed Harun, Abdul Hamid, Niyaz Ahmed, Mohammed Hamid, Iqbal Ahmed, Shahnaz, Mohammed Samir, Mohammed Faizal, Mohammed Iqbal, Kafeel Ahmed and Saleem alias Saleemuddin. They were booked by Kaisar Bagah police. While 12 others, including Mohammed Shafiuddin, Mohammed Salman and Zakir, were booked by the Hasanganj police.
“While the state police have miserably failed to arrest the gangster Vikas Dubey who shot dead 8 policemen including a Deputy Superintendent of Police in Kanpur district a few days ago, the same police is brazenly slapping the provisions of the dreaded Gangsters Act against the anti-CAA protesters, indicating that there is no democracy in the state but dictatorship, without any rule of law”, says Yadav.
“Does protesting against any decision or policy of the government, which the people feel, is against the larger interest of the society, amount to goondaism and gangsterism. Don’t people have a right in a democracy to give vent to their feelings against decisions of the government through democratic and peaceful means of protest?”, Yadav questions.
“But the whimsical and arbitrary actions of the state government with regard to anti-CAA protesters shows that people are living in a monarchy where the words of the Monarch or the King is the law. If one analyses the political conditions in UP, one will find that exactly the same situation prevails in UP today. Gangster Vikas Dubey was not called a goonda or gangster till he killed 8 policemen”, Yadav points out.
Yadav said that democratic agitations were never run by criminals but democratic workers and activists in which there is no place for a criminal or a goonda. “We attained freedom from the British slavery through democratic means of protest and agitation and now we have a Constitution. The nation will be run by the Constitution, not by the whims and fancies of somebody”, the Manch leader says.
He said that a large number of civil rights activists in Kanpur, Mau, Aligarh and Lucknow districts, who participated in anti-CAA protests, have also been booked under the Gangsters Act.
Yadav said that as many as 11 anti-CAA activists have been booked under the Gangsters Act in Kanpur, by declaring one of them-Hussain alias Isu-as leader of the ‘criminal gang’. Among them are Faizan Khan, Akram, Sabir Siddiqui alias Sabir Chudiwala, Dilshad alias Shanu, Mohammed Aqil, Hammad, Mohammed Umar, Mohammed wasif, Sarwar Alam and Mohammed Qasim.
As many as 22 persons have been booked under the Gangster Act in Mau. They are Asif Chandan alias Mohammed Asif, Faizan, Mazhar major, Imtiaz Nomani, Obaida alias Ohata, Sarfaraz, Altamash, Anis, Javed alias Naate, Ishaq, Amir Honda, Khurshid Kamal, Dilip Pandey, Amir, Munawwar Murga, Shakir Lari, Zaid, Khalid, Shaharyar, Afzaal alias Guddu, Wahhab and Anas.
Yadav said that all this is happening in UP because the ruling party had become intolerant to the rival political parties having a different ideology. “This is very dangerous trend for democracy in India”, he said.
“What is happening in UP right now amounts to an attack on India’s Constitutional values, idea of unity in diversity and co-existence of people belonging to various cultures, religious and linguistic groups”, Yadav said.
The Gangsters Act defines a ganger as “a member or leader or organizer of a gang and includes any person who abets or assists in the activities of a gang in illegal activities, such as unauthorised liquor trade, disturbing communal harmony and preventing or attempting to prevent any public servant or any witness from discharging his lawful duties”.
The police invoked the Gangster Act against the anti-CAA protesters because they were accused of firing at police and setting on fire a police outpost, besides damaging public and private properties.
The UP police have also used this Act against journalists.
One Juned Ahmed was also charged under the Gangsters Act in 2015 who had allegedly committed an offence under the UP Cow Slaughter Act 1955. However, the Allahabad High Court ruled that the Gangsters Act can’t be slapped on someone charged under the Cow slaughter Act.
As many as 23 people had died during anti-CAA protests across UP in December 2019. The cause of death was bullet in most of the cases.
Those who died included Mohammed Aasif, Aleem Ansari, Asif, Zaheer Ahmed and Mohsin from Meerut, Mohammed Anas, Mohammed Suleman, Mohammed Shafeeque, Arman urf Kallu and Muqim from Bijnor, Mohammed Haroon, Nabi Jaan, Rashid and Mohammed Abrar from Firozabad, Mohammed Saghir and Mohammed Saif from Varanasi, Raees Khan and Aftab Alam from Kanpur, Faiz Khan from Rampur, Mohammed Noor alias Noora from Muzaffarnagar, Mohammed Sahroz and Bilal Pasha from Sambhal and Mohammed Wakeel from Lucknow.