The families of retired Indian Police Service officer SR Darapuri and and Congress worker and activist Sadaf Jafar have alleged that Lucknow administration officials threatened to seize their properties, if they fail to pay damages for public property destroyed during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act last year, The Indian Express reported on Monday.
“On Friday, around 20 officials came to our house and started to threaten us,” Darapuri’s grandson Siddharth told the newspaper. “They asked us where Darapuriji is. My grandfather was not here. They said that they will seize the property where we live in. They video-graphed our house, cars and the conversation my uncle had with the officials.”
Siddharth said the following day, another team visited the house and demanded to know where his grandfather was. The officials said they would confiscate the family’s property if Darapuri did not meet them, Siddharth alleged. “We have responded to all the notices, whereas the administration has not responded to any of our replies,” he said. “My grandmother is severely ill and has more than one comorbidity. If they evict us, where will we go during the [coronavirus] pandemic?” he asked.
On the other hand, Jafar told The Indian Express that a team of police and administration officials visited her house in Gomti Nagar area on Saturday. She alleged that the team threatened her children and video-graphed their conversation.
However, administration officials denied the claims of both the Darapuri family and Jafar. Naib Tehsildar (Kakori) Mahima Mishra said the officials did not misbehave with or threaten the families. Mishra claimed that the families had not responded to the notices. She admitted that officials video-graphed the conversation, “so that no one could accuse us of anything”.
The Lucknow administration had in February asked 28 people to pay for damages worth Rs 63,37,637 in Hazratganj area of the city, for destruction of property during an anti-CAA protest on December 19. A total of 57 people are supposed to pay Rs 1.55 crore for the alleged vandalism. The authorities had warned that the properties of the accused would be seized if they failed to pay up.
The police had arrested Darapuri and Jafar among hundreds of others in December. On January 8, both Darapuri and Jafar received bail. Jafar alleged the police brutally assaulted her with batons and took her for a medical examination before sending her to prison. The police denied the charges.
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.