New Delhi: The Lucknow administration has sent fresh notices to 13 people who have been asked to pay for damages during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in the city, asking them to pay 10% extra of the Rs 21.67 lakh sought from them or face time in jail. These 13 were among the 57 people whose names, photos and addresses were displayed on billboards for alleged damages caused to public property.
According to the Indian Express, the administration on Tuesday issued “recovery certificates” and “demand notices” to 13 people whose cases fall under the Hasanganj police station’s jurisdiction. The 13 have been asked to pay Rs 21.67 lakh in damages. Those who received the certificates and notices are Osama Siddiqui, Mohd Hashim, Dharmeveer Singh, Mohd Kaleem, Mohd Kaleem, Muqtar Ahamad, Mohad Zakir, Mohd Salman, Mubin, Wasim, Mohd Shafiuddin, Mahenur Choudhury and Hafiz-ur-Rehman, according to the Indian Express.
In all, the 57 people across four police stations of Lucknow have been served notices for recovery of Rs 1.55 crore for the alleged destruction of property and assets during the December 19 protests. They are required to pay the amount within 30 days or face attachment of properties.
The administration’s move to display photos, names and addresses of the protesters was criticised by the Allahabad high court. The government appealed the matter before the Supreme Court, where it was referred to a larger bench. The government has also passed an ordinance that gives sweeping powers to a new claims tribunal for collecting compensation from people accused of vandalism, even without giving them a chance to place their defence.
The additional district magistrate of Trans Gomti, Vishwa Bhushan Mishra, said that the demand notice has a clause to collect an additional 10% from the original amount. If the 13 people do not pay the amount within a week, they will face civil imprisonment and attachment of property, he said.
The Uttar Pradesh government has served similar notices to people in Kanpur, Firozabad, Muzaffarnagar, Sambhal and Gorakhpur. Lawyers that The Wire has spoken to said that the action does not have legal backing, but many of those who have received the notices have been forced to pay up or face the prospect of their properties being attached.
According to the Indian Express, on Monday, six of the 21 people who received the notices in Kanpur for alleged damages to property during a December 21 anti-CAA protest submitted over Rs 80,000 through a draft. They were issued an order on March 6 to deposit Rs 2.83 lakh for damages within a week.
Kanpur ADM Vivek Srivastava said that since the people have started depositing money, “we have decided not to take any action against them”.
In Firozabad district too, 26 people who received notices have deposited Rs 4 lakh of the Rs 45 lakh demanded by the administration.
In Lucknow, 57 people have been asked to pay over Rs 1.5 crore, in Muzaffarnagar, 53 people have been asked to pay Rs 23.41 lakh. In Sambhal, 58 people will have to pay Rs 19.31 lakh, while in Gorakhpur, eight people have been asked to pay Rs 90,000.