New Delhi: Around 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, from Kerala’s Kasaragod district have received summons from the Mangalore police in connection with the probe into violent anti-CAA protests that took place on December 19 and left two people dead in police firing, according to a report in the Times of India.
It appears that a majority of them received summons on the basis of their cellphone location on the day of the protests.
The summons, issued by an assistant commissioner of police of the Mangaluru city crime record bureau, mention the date and time for the appearance and caution against absence, which would be construed as “evading the investigation” and would invite “further legal procedure”.
The district of Kasaragod in Kerala borders Karnataka and several locals from small towns in the district frequent Manguluru, which is the biggest city in the vicinity, for a variety of commercial and household needs.
Several of those who had received summons expressed bewilderment at the notices issued to them and held that they had not participated in protests in the city.
“We depend on Mangaluru to procure fish and earn our livelihood, but now we are being termed rioters just because we were there in the city that day, that too many hours before the violence broke out,” Muhammed Kunhi, a fish trader, told TOI.
Kasaragod district panchayat member Ali Harshad Vorkady estimated that close to 1,800 people from the district had received summons and were being wrongly accused. “They are falsely implicating innocent people. Worse, they are insinuating that people from Kerala were behind the riots in Mangaluru. This is dangerous and questions the right of free movement of people even to neighbouring places,” Vorkady said.
A beedi roller from Manjeshwar in Kasargod received a notice with regard to the protests that said, “The non-appearance will draw inference that you are intentionally evading to assist the investigation to continue to engage in similar activities. Your absence will lead to further legal procedure. Treat this matter as most urgent.”
“Notices have been issued to people living in areas between Manjeshwar and Calicut, who were present in Mangaluru. We have obtained phone numbers from mobile towers at protest sites for December 19, and have identified over 2,000 people, who are from Kerala. We have issued notices to them to prove that they were not part of the protest,” DySP Gaonkar, the former investigating officer in the case, said.
The Mangaluru president of Democratic Youth Federation of India, Muneer Katipala claimed that the police was attempting to fabricate cases against people from Kerala.
“The police keep saying that people from Kerala planned this. But so far, the police have no evidence. When we ask the police on what basis they are doing this, there is no answer. Now they are just issuing notices to anyone who is from Kerala. A beedi worker, who was not even in the city, also got a notice with section 307 (attempt to murder) in it,” Muneer told The News Minute.
Last year in December, a circular issued by the Karnataka government asking colleges in Dakshina Kannada district to keep tabs on students from Kerala invited outcry from students.
The Dakshina Kannada deputy commissioner held that the intent of the circular was “to stress on the safety” of students from Kerala.