Human rights groups Rihai Manch and NCHRO delegation visited the area where a communal clash took place and found the enaction of UAPA unnecessary. They claimed that the complaint was prepared even before the incident took place.
Lucknow: In a press meet, members of a fact-finding team of Rihai Manch and NCHRO spoke to reporters about booking 80 Muslim men under the draconian UAPA law after visiting Bahraich district in Uttar Pradesh.
UP Police have allegedly booked 80 Muslims and named 100-200 others as unknown, according to an FIR lodged in Baundi police station. The FIR has been filed by a member of the Durga Puja procession Ashish Kumar Shukla. It was alleged that on 20th October 2018, a procession from a few villages for the immersion of a Durga idol turned violent at Khaira Bazar. Reports suggest that 40 Muslim are in police custody including those who have not been named in the FIR.
“Those 80 Muslims along with 100-200 others were hiding on the way of the procession and when it was passing through the Khaira village on way to Badnapur for immersion, they attacked it. The complainant claimed in the FIR that the attackers were armed with guns, pistols, bombs and swords. He named three persons and 50-60 unknown persons from the procession who he said were seriously injured in the attack,” a report by Caravan Daily said.
A report also suggested that Muslim shops and households were damaged in the presence of the police and many men and women fled after the violence.
Human rights groups Rihai Manch and NCHRO (National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations), whose joint delegation visited the area on October 28, found the enaction of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)-1967 and other laws unnecessary in this case and poke many holes in the FIR. They claimed that the complaint was prepared even before the incident took place.
“The FIR does not mention the time of the incident but it mentions the time of the filing of the complaint. The complainant named 80 Muslims in the FIR besides 100-200 others as unknown but he mentions names of only three persons from the procession as injured and 50-60 other injured persons as unknown. The FIR has nothing that warrants invocation of UAPA against the accused,” the group said.
In the report, Rihai Manch president Adv. Mohammad Shoaib said, “After a cursory look at the FIR, the incident seems completely doubtful. The complainant has not written the time of the incident, yet FIR says the incident took place at 00:00 clock on 20 Oct and it was registered at 21:38 PM. The local police and communal elements jointly prepared this fake report. FIR names 80 people and 100-200 as unknown which does not seem believable. If 250-300 people had hidden themselves on a village road to attack a Hindu procession, they would have been noticed. Ashish Kumar Shukla names 80 people out of 250-300 but mentions names of only three persons who got injured and forgets 50-60 other injured. The person who does not remember injured members of his own procession, how can he remember 80 names from the other side? This proves that those named as accused in the FIR were already identified and marked by them.”
Rihai Manch stated that this whole incident was concocted to show Muslims as anti-national and terrorists.
The delegation met Bahraich SP and pointed out the wrong use of UAPA in the case. “Initially he insisted that it was correct, but when legal points raised, he promised to look into the case after chargesheet. But the question is that if they remain booked under UAPA, the police will have 180 days for filing the chargesheet, otherwise in normal IPC sections, they will have to file chargesheet within 90 days,” said Rajeev Yadav of Rihai Manch in the report.
The accused have been booked under six IPC sections (147, 148, 295-A, 296, 323, 506) and Section 7 of UAPA.