The Yogi Adityanath cabinet has approved the Uttar Pradesh Recovery Public and Private Property Ordinance for the recovery of damages due to the anti-CAA riots in the state. The ordinance comes close on the heels of the Allahabad High Court ordering the state government to pull down the posters of riot suspects from the signs along the streets of Lucknow, which the Supreme Court looks unlikely to stay.
The Yogi government will try to turn the ordinance into law in any of the coming sessions of the assembly before the lapse of six months, as is the rule for all ordinances.
Uttar Pradesh Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna said the cabinet had approved the ordinance that will allow the state government to confiscate properties of those involved in the violent anti-CAA protests across the state in December 2019.
After the Yogi government challenged the Allahabad High Court order in the Supreme Court, Justice Anirudh Bose of the apex court said, while hearing the case of posters, that there had to be a difference between the people and the government. Many times, people break the law and do something, but the government is restrained to run and work according to the law, the judge had said.
The other member of the Supreme Court bench, Justice Lalit, said that at the moment there was no law supporting the action of the Uttar Pradesh government. “If there is a law, tell me,” the judge exclaimed. This gave an indication of the direction the apex court will take in its verdict as and when it comes, if not the larger bench — this is a vacation bench — looks at the case in a different way.
Last December, the Uttar Pradesh intelligence assessment report on riots in Uttar Pradesh in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) had revealed while the outrage among Muslims was spontaneous, the violence was mostly organised.
The report had revealed further the role of SIMI’s alleged new form of Popular Front of India (PFI) in mobilising, arson, firing and bombing communally sensitive areas of the state. A detailed investigation is underway to ascertain the role of PFI in Uttar Pradesh violence. The state urged the Union Home Ministry to initiate appropriate action against the organisation.
However, the posters of rioters hardly projected a communal picture, as several Hindu names, including that of former IPS officer and Dalit activist SR Darapuri, featured on the signs along the streets of Lucknow.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had declared right during the riots that he would make the rioters pay for the destruction of public and personal properties after they were identified from CCTV footage and videos made by onlookers.