- Hoardings put up by Uttar Pradesh government
- They have names of accused of violence during anti-CAA protests
- Court of Chief Justice Govind Mathur has taken up case
In an unusual move, the Allahabad High Court will hear at 10 am today – a court holiday – the case relating to hoardings put up by the Uttar Pradesh government, naming those who were accused of violence during protests against the controversial citizenship law. The hoardings also had the addresses and photos of the accused, and were put up at prominent intersections in Lucknow.
The court of Chief Justice Govind Mathur has taken up the case on its own (suo moto).
Those named on the hoardings have been asked to pay for damage to public property in Lucknow during the protests, in which one person had died. The hoardings say if the accused failed to pay up, their properties would be attached.
Individual property attachment notices to many of the accused have already been served by the government in many cases.
A listing put up on Saturday evening on the Allahabad High Court’s website under the tab of fresh cases, lists the case and says it has been taken up by the Allahabad High Court suo moto, or “on its own”.
The hoardings in Lucknow were put up on the instructions of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, said a source in the Chief Minister’s Office, asking not to be named.
On Friday, sources in the Chief Minister’s Office sent an unsigned two-page note justifying the hoardings. They said they were put up keeping larger public interest in mind and after following all rules.
Among those named in the hoardings are activist-politician Sadaf Jafar, lawyer Mohammed Shoaib, theatre personality Deepak Kabir and former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer SR Darapuri. All of them are out on bail and have said they will contest in court any move by the government to attach their property.
Calling the government’s move unethical, Sadaf Jafar had told NDTV, “I’m not absconding… It’s pathetic to put our names and addresses here.”
“We were arrested, assaulted, sent to jail and then given bail. Now this is a new tactic to put pressure on us. I got a recovery notice already in jail. I sent a letter via the jail superintendent asking how I could plead my case when I was in jail. I got no reply. No one listened to me and then they sent me a recovery order,” Deepak Kabir said.
“You know our addresses, we have the notice. Then, why this? Is this to create fear? And if it is, then how can any government be called a good government?” he said.
After the violence in December, Mr Adityanath had courted controversy with his remarks of “badla” or revenge.
“We will be very strict. I am monitoring this myself. We will attach the property of all those involved in the violence and many such faces are being identified in videography and CCTVs. We will attach their property and take revenge against them,” the Chief Minister had said.
Massive violence had broken out across Uttar Pradesh in December after protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act turned violent at many places. As part of the crackdown, thousands were arrested across the violence-hit districts in the state and charges of rioting and attempted murder were filed against them.
The police said at least 60 personnel were hit by bullets across the state while trying to control mobs. Questions have since been raised on the police action, including how the police in many areas appeared to have used excessive force while dealing with the situation.