The Allahabad High Court has objected to the Uttar Pradesh Police’s act of putting up posters and photos of anti-citizenship law rioters on the roads of Lucknow. The high court heard the matter on Sunday and said that the verdict would be delivered on Monday afternoon.
During the hearing, the state government said these were photos of those who had violated the law. Opposing the petition filed in the court, the Yogi Adityanath government said that public interest litigation should not be filed favouring rioters.
A bench of Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Ramesh Sinha verbally told Additional Advocate General Neeraj Tripathi at the outset of the hearing that the matter was serious. Nothing should be done to hurt anyone’s sensibilities, the court said.
The high court bench said the posters were an insult to the state as well as the citizen. It said further that the government had time till 3 PM to take the necessary step (removing the posters).
In its order, the high court said that there was no mention in the posters under which law these had been pasted along the roads. The high court believes it is wrong to put a photo or poster of a person in a public place without his or her permission. This is a violation of the citizen’s right to privacy, it said.
On 5 March, the administration started a recovery campaign from 53 people identified as rioters from CCTV and other footage during the December 2019 riots in Uttar Pradesh. This was done to compensate for the government and private assets damaged in the violence perpetrated to lodge Muslim protest against the CAA and NRC (National Register of Citizens, which the union government has clarified is not being implemented nationwide as of now).
Hoardings with photographs of miscreants were put up at major intersections — like several major intersections including Hazratganj — of the Uttar Pradesh capital. This activity started on Thursday (5 March).
According to District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash, it was the revenue court that issued the recovery notice against the miscreants to make up for the loss. Uttar Pradesh reportedly lost properties worth Rs 1.61 crore in the anti-CAA riots.
To extract damages from the accused, the administration is acting strict.
Meanwhile, police in Thakurganj arrested absconding rioter Sahil aka Mohammed Sadiq Khan who had been rioting in the name of protesting against the CAA and NRC.
‘Posters may lead to lynching’
“It is shameful. There was no need for that. The government is creating an atmosphere of fear. People whose names are mentioned can be lynched anywhere. The environment after Delhi violence is not safe. Government is putting everyone at risk,” Deepak Kabir, an activist, told ANI.
But then, Kabir’s is a clear case of conflict of interest, as he is one of the rioters identified in the posters. But he says, “No allegations were proved. Innocent people were nabbed and beaten up. The court did not find any evidence. Since the government has the power, it cannot defame anyone. If they are lynched in public, who will take the responsibility?”
Uttar Pradesh Minister Mohsin Raza alleged that people whose names are put up in hoardings destroyed public properties. “Photos have been put off those people who tried to create unrest under the garb of the Citizenship Amendment Act. They harmed people of the state and tried to destroy public properties. Now damages will be recovered from them,” he said.