New Delhi: In what seems to be a move to publicly name and shame those who participated in the December 2019 protests in Lucknow against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – and possibly jeopardise their lives at the hands of miscreants – the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has put up hoardings with the photos and home addresses of those it blames for the violence seen at strategic traffic points in the capital city.
In February, the state government had issued notices to the 28 persons whose faces feature in the hoardings, including political activist and Congress member Sadaf Jafar, retired police office S.R. Darapuri, activist Mohammad Shoaib and poet Deepak Kabir. The notice sought the payment of more than Rs 63 lakh from them for allegedly damaging public property within 30 days. If they failed to do so, their property would be attached by the administration.
Jafar and some others had then told media persons that they would challenge the notices served to them in court. Both Shoaib and Darapuri responded to the recovery notices saying that they had been put under house arrest at that time and could not have been present at the site.
According to an NDTV report, a source in the office of UP chief minister said that the hoardings had been put up on Adityanath’s instructions. After violence broke out last December in Lucknow and other parts of the state, Adityanath had declared that his government would take “revenge” and attach the property of anyone involved in it. The police had video graphed people who had attended the protests in addition to identifying some protesters through closed-circuit cameras. Hundreds of people were arrested and accused of fomenting violence.
Several of those who feature on the hoardings are presently out on bail.
Upon being asked about the state government’s latest move, Sadaf Jafar told The Wire, “By putting our names, photos and addresses, the government is putting our life and safety in danger. I am in consultation with my lawyers and we will soon take legal recourse against it.”
Deepak Kabir told NDTV, “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.”
In February, the Allahabad high court had granted interim relief to a person from Kanpur against one such notice served by the Adityanath government after accusing him of vandalising government property during an anti-CAA protest. The relief was granted on the grounds that a petition on the validity of such notices was yet to be decided by the Supreme Court.