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Can protest peacefully, violence won’t be tolerated: UP govt

The Uttar Pradesh government has said that people, organisations and political parties will be permitted to organise peaceful protest but "strict action will be taken against those who indulge in violence and destroy public property".

The state government on Friday said people, social organisations and political parties will be permitted to organise peaceful protest and demonstration but “strict action will be taken against those who indulge in violence and destroy public property.”

Replying to an adjournment motion moved by the opposition parties in the legislative assembly, parliamentary affairs minister Suresh Kumar Khanna said the state government will not tolerate anarchy in the name of protest. “Strict action will be taken against those who try to take the law into their hands, whatever be their status,” he said.

Out of the state’s 75 districts, violence was reported in only eight districts, he said and added that 61 policemen were injured during the violence. “No person died due to police firing. The 21 deaths reported during the protests was result of firing among the protestors,” he said.

Blaming the opposition for the violence during the anti-CAA/NRC protests in various districts, Khanna said the opposition parties not only misguided the people over the CAA but also instigated them to indulge in violence.

He said the order to impose penalty on people who destroyed public property was passed in 2011 when Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government was in power. The BJP government has implemented the old order. Recovery notices have been issued to anti-social elements who destroyed public property. The police have evidence against the rioters, he said.

Khanna said the police had registered 434 cases and arrested 1,635 people on the charge of indulging in violence and destroying public property. Another 189 cases have been registered for hate posts on social media, he said.

Moving the adjournment motion, SP legislature party leader Ram Govind Chaudhary demanded a judicial probe by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court or high court into the violence during anti-CAA/NRC protests and police atrocities on the protestors.

Terming the police action a reminder of the British rule, Chaudhary said immediately before the protests, the administration imposed section 144, the DGP announced that protests will be crushed and leaders of the political parties were not allowed to move out of their homes, he said.

“Twenty-five innocent people were killed in police firing in various districts. Anti- social elements joined the protestors and indulged in violence,” he added.

Terming the police action one-sided, Chaudhary said the anti- social elements who indulged in arson should be identified. “The police is targeting Muslims. Cases were also registered against SP workers who organised peaceful protests. A judicial inquiry should be ordered to unearth the truth,” he said.

Leader of BSP legislature party Lalji Verma and leader of Congress legislature Aradhana Mishra also demanded a judicial probe into the violence and action by the police.

Later, protest against the state government’s statement, BSP MLAs staged a walk-out from the house. Also, SP and Congress members rushed into the well of the house. Speaker Hriday Narayan Dixit then had to adjourn the house for 30 minutes.

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