The Congress approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to demand action against Uttar Pradesh police officials who allegedly committed atrocities on people protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), with former party chief Rahul Gandhi accusing the State government of going to war against its own people.
The delegation, led by Mr. Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, submitted a detailed 31-page memorandum, including video clips and photographs as “evidence of atrocities” and human rights violations by U.P. police officials against whom no official complaint has been registered.
“The NHRC must act decisively to protect the idea of India & the Constitutional rights of our citizens,” Mr. Gandhi said in a tweet. In the memorandum to the NHRC, the party alleged that the BJP government in the State “treats its own citizens like criminals”.
“Given the role of a reckless State government that views the law and Constitution as mere inconveniences, the duty of institutions such as the NHRC to act as checks and balances and to embody and protect the values enshrined in the Constitution of India becomes paramount,” the Congress memorandum said.
The party argued that the NHRC has always stood tall with its glorious history when other institutions have fallen short.
Citing testimonies by witnesses, videos and ‘unbiased’ media reports, the Congress accused the U.P. police of destroying public and private property.
After the meeting with NHRC, Dr. AM Singhvi briefed to media:
“We have submitted a detailed representation of 31 pages. We have three volumes supporting that representation. This is a very emotive issue for us but it is also backed by hard solid facts – photographs, large number of videos, we have categorized them into nine broad themes.
Deaths because of police indiscriminate firing and arbitrary action; women and minors becoming collateral damage in a very cruel manner; vandalism by the police themselves and in particular by this new cadre of so-called ‘Police Mitras’ who seem to be really ‘Mitras of Police’ or the friends of the Police and not of the public; indiscriminate action on innocent bystanders by the UP Police. Nine themes I said. Then the threats issued by the UP Police that we will confiscate your property, we will come and arrest your people if you go out on streets and exercise your fundamental right to protest. Then clearly evidence of the ruling party personnel, Member, Office bearers being roped in to stop democratic protests to conduct strong, arbitrary, cruel and illegal action, very-very important, failure to lodge FIR. Like this there are nine themes I will take two minutes more to amplify two or three of the themes which we amplified before them. Remember, we backed it up with photos and videos.
Take for example FIR. The law of the land judgment called ‘Lalitha Kumari’ that you require virtually no enquiry before you lodge an FIR. Here we have given innumerable FIRs, which reflect two very funny but very tragic things. One – not a single police officer has been named as an accused or action taken on a single complaint, FIR. It is quite amazing that with videos and photographs in a State like UP, every police officer is whitest snow. Second – FIRs galore have been filed against those who are the protestors. The victims have become the accused in FIRs liberally filed by the police. We have given examples.
Secondly on ‘Police Mitras’ we ended by showing a video where we showed the face of the person who was recruited, as Priyanka Ji told the Commission, the condition, precedent, the qualification for becoming a ‘Police Mitra’ is a height of 5’ 10” and an association, membership or office bearership of the RSS. Well, we showed an actual video, with an example. A man is getting out of car, is handed a stick, we juxtaposed that face with same person’s face on a BJP poster as the senior office bearer of the local area. This is a level who are – these ‘Police Mitras’ unleashed with sticks and lathis in a 144 area on innocent people who exercised right of protest. We have shown a cyclostyled 100 notices in one Mohalla, indiscriminately sent to people saying you are doing unlawful activities. Obviously when you send indiscriminately, there is no application of mind, so we gave example of a person who was dead six years ago, who is accused by the notice of disturbing public tranquility although he died six years ago.
So, friends, I will not go into further details except to say that this is hard solid work. Priyanka Ji has visited a large number of Districts in that area. We held back an earlier meeting because we wanted to add even more material. This is concrete facts. It shocks our conscious. It makes us hang our head in shame and we hope and trust that the Commission which gave us a patient hearing will take action – concrete action – very promptly and under intimation to us.”
(Source: The Hindu, AICC Communication)