The Congress on Monday approached the National Human Rights Commission and called for action against alleged police brutality against anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protestors in Uttar Pradesh, PTI reported. At least 19 people died in Uttar Pradesh during clashes between the police and those protesting against the amended Act last month.
“A delegation of Congress leaders presented the NHRC with evidence of the atrocities against the citizens of Uttar Pradesh by the state government, which has gone to war against its own people,” tweeted party leader Rahul Gandhi after the meeting. “The NHRC must act decisively to protect the idea of India and the constitutional rights of our citizens.”
The delegation, led by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, met high-ranking NHRC officials and presented a 31-page submission that included visuals to back the allegations. The Congress also submitted a memorandum, alleging that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government “treats its own citizens like criminals”.
“Given the role of a reckless state government that views the law and Constitution as mere inconveniences, treats its own citizens like criminals and wears its hostility towards ordinary citizens as a badge of pride, 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 memorandum said. It further claimed that the state authorities had not taken note of alleged destruction of public and private properties by the police.
The memorandum said that this meant either the police and state government were working with each other or the actions were “ignored by the state government in order to curb the protests”.
The group, which included Congress leaders Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Salman Khurshid, and the state unit chief Ajay Kumar Lallu, demanded a detailed investigation into the deaths that occurred during anti-CAA protests in Uttar Pradesh, reported Hindustan Times.
Singhvi highlighted the human rights violations in the state and said that the authorities had failed to file first information reports in the matter. “Not a single police officer [has been] named as [an] accused,” he said. “There have been numerous FIRs against protestors in which victims have become accused.”
The Congress leader added that the party had submitted details of the deaths during the protests as a few of them “were shot in the chest”. “We showed videos of BJP and RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] people recruited as police mitras who were unleashed on people,” Singhvi said. “Notices were given to people by administration threatening them against joining protests.”
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11 and notified on January 10, 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, leading to protests against it.
There have been reports of the police in Uttar Pradesh denying medical aid to the injured, some of whom were not even protestors and were simply caught up in the demonstrations. Video footage and first-hand accounts emerged of policemen entering and ransacking Muslim homes, looting cash, beating up women and the elderly, and breaking the windows of cars.