UP Court Orders Release of 48 CAA Protesters on Bail as Police Fail to Present Proofs
LUCKNOW, JANUARY 30— A court in Uttar Pradesh’ Bijnor district has ordered release of 48 people who were arrested by the police charging them of rioting and opening fire on cops during protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) on December 20.
The court granted them bail on Tuesday as the police failed to present evidence in support of their charges. Last week also, the court had granted bail to seven other anti-CAA protesters.
After the anti-CAA protests turned violent in Bijnor on December 20, police had arrested 80 people and booked several others.
“In the FIR, it is said that the mob opened fire on the police but no weapons were shown recovered. According to the case diary, bullet case of 315 recovered from spot but the prosecution did not present any proof that could show which accused from among the crowd opened fire. According to prosecution, no policeman or any one got bullet injuries, nor have they produced any fire arm,” said judge Sanjiv Panday in his bail order on January 28.
The judge also said that the police did not present any proof of mob damaging government or private vehicles or ransacking any shop.
“The FIR said that the mob damaged government and private vehicles and ransacked shops but the prosecution did not present any proof for these charges, nor details about such vehicles and shops,” said the judge in his bail order.
“Without making any comment on the merits of the case, looking at the facts, circumstances and nature of the crime, I think there is enough ground for bail,” said the court and ordered their release on personal bond of Rs 40,000 each.
On December 19 and 20, big protests were held against CAA-NRC-NPR in several districts of Uttar Pradesh. Some of the protests turned violent. At least 23 people were killed – most of them with bullet injuries – in Meerut, Kanpur, Bijnor, Firozabad and other places. In Bijnor, two persons were killed, one of them was a 22-year-old Suleman who was preparing for civil services. Police had admitted the youth was killed in police firing when police opened fire in self defence.
Several civil fact-finding reports and investigative media reports have said that police used excessive force against the protesters. In some cases, they barged into homes and assaulted people including women and elderly. Within days of the incidents, the police arrested hundreds of people in several districts and booked thousands of people under rioting and attempt to murder charges.
Since CAA was passed by the Parliament on December 11, there have been massive nationwide protests against the discriminatory law which seeks to give Indian citizenship only to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Jamaat Welcomes Court Order, Demands Withdrawal of All Cases against CAA Protesters
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, whose delegation had visited the affected areas and victim families two days after the incident, has welcomed the Bijnor court order.
“We welcome the court order. It has vindicated what we said after visiting the affected areas and talking to the local people last month. The police had falsely implicated the people. The anti-CAA protesters were not involved in any violence. Locals told us that there were some plain-clothed people along with the cops,” said Malik Motasim Khan, Community Affairs Secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.
Jamaat leader had visited the affected areas and families in Bijnor on December 22 along with a civil fact-finding team.
After the bail order of the Bijnor court, he expressed hope that all innocents arrested and sent to jail after anti-CAA protests will get justice.
Jamaat leader also demanded the UP government to withdraw FIRs lodged against thousands of unnamed people after the December 19-20 protests in several districts of the state.