The Samajwadi Party has put up banners of former Union minister Chinmayanand, who is accused of raping a law student, and Unnao rape convict Kuldeep Singh Sengar – both associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party at some point – in Lucknow, News18 reported on Friday. The banners are in response to the hoardings that the district administration put up, which carry the names, photographs and addresses of 53 people who protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“When protesters don’t have any privacy and even after the orders of High Court and Supreme Court, Yogi Government is not taking down hoardings,” tweeted Samajwadi Party leader leader IP Singh. “So I have also decided to put up get some hoardings of named criminals, our daughters should be aware of them.” In another tweet, Singh wrote that those who will oppose these hoardings will be considered supporters of rapists and thus ‘anti-woman’. “Before doing a contempt of the High Court and Supreme Court and disobeying our Constitution the BJP should introspect themselves first. BJP is Anti Woman,” he added.
Along with the pictures and details of cases against Chinmayanand and Sengar, the poster carried the message “Betiyan Rahe Savdhan, Surakshit Rahe Hindustan”. However, soon the Lucknow district administration got the hoardings removed and stepped up vigil.
Although both the Supreme Court and the Allahabad High Court have ordered that the posters with details of anti-Citizenship Act protestors be removed, those still continue to dot the street of Lucknow.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court told the Adityanath government that there was no law to support putting up such hoardings. The court refused to stay the Allahabad High Court order that ordered removal of the hoardings, but referred the matter to a three-judge regular bench.
The hoardings had photos, names and addresses of 53 people, including activist Sadaf Jafar, former bureaucrat SR Darapuri, Shia cleric Maulana Saif Abbas, human rights activist Mohammed Shoaib and theatre personality Deepak Kabir.
In its order on March 9, the Allahabad High Court said the hoardings violated Article 21 of the Constitution. On the state government’s claim that the High Court lacked territorial jurisdiction as the matter arose in Lucknow, the bench said the reason for its involvement was not about “personal injury” to those named in the hoardings, but “the injury caused to the precious constitutional value and its shameless depiction by the administration”.
In an earlier hearing on March 6, the High Court had told the state government that a proper hearing should have been held instead of naming people and putting up banners, which was “unacceptable”. The court had also said the state’s action was “highly unjust” and an “absolute encroachment” on personal liberty of the people whose names and photos were displayed.
The Citizenship Amendment Act provides citizenship to refugees from six minority communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who have entered India on or before December 31, 2014. The Act, passed on December 11, has been criticised for excluding Muslims. In December, at least 28 people died in protests against the Act, 19 of them in Uttar Pradesh itself. Most of those who died had suffered bullet-inflicted wounds.