The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government, based on an email by a Mumbai-based lawyer, alleging that the situation in the state during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act was “antithetical to core constitutional values”, PTI reported.
Bombay High Court advocate Ajay Kumar had, in a letter to Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Govind Mathur, referred to reports in two newspapers, The New York Times and The Telegraph, about police firing on madrassa students in Muzaffarnagar during the protests. Kumar urged the chief justice to order a judicial inquiry into the case.
The court treated the email as a public interest litigation to issue a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government, Live Law reported. “Let a notice be issued to the State of Uttar Pradesh as to why necessary directions as prayed [for a judicial inquiry] be not issued,” the court said.
The court also took cognisance of a report in The Indian Express’ Lucknow edition about the alleged atrocities committed by the police. Students and other inmates of the Muzaffarnagar madrasa alleged that the police barged into the complex on December 20 and, besides beating them up with lathis, forced them to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and called them “terrorists”, the report said.
The court appointed senior lawyer SFA Naqvi and advocate Ramesh Kumar as amicus curiae in the matter, and listed it for hearing on January 16.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims.
At least 26 people died in last month’s protests against the citizenship law. Of these, 19 died in Uttar Pradesh, five in Assam and two in Karnataka. The Bijnor Police in Uttar Pradesh were also accused of detaining and torturing minors.