Radicals, mainstream parties instigating violence: UP DGP
Uttar Pradesh’s director general of police (DGP) O P Singh blamed radical groups and mainstream political parties for “orchestrating violence” over the past fortnight as anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests rock several parts of the state.
Singh’s comments come at a time when the police is under fire over 18 deaths in the state, including at least 14 from bullet injuries.
Singh blamed radical Popular Front of India (PFI) and its political front, Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), and political parties, including the Samajwadi Party, for the violence in western UP (including at Aligarh Muslim University on December 15) and Lucknow on December 19. “All the three arrested PFI office bearers — state head Mohammed Wasim, Nadeem Ali and Mohammad Ashfaq — have during interrogation disclosed elaborate plans to orchestrate protests over both CAA and NRC (National Register of Citizens). The PFI activists have used social media largely to disseminate misinformation through WhatsApp and other platforms,” Singh added.
Anis Ansari, PFI in-charge of north zone, refuted the police charges. “Lucknow police is acting on the direction of its political masters. The police have arrested PFI members to hide their own failure in ensuring peace during the protest,” he said.
Samajwadi Party (SP) state spokesperson said: “Either the state government has failed completely and absolutely or it itself was involved in what all had happened. Our national president (Akhilesh Yadav) has already said a lot about the role of the government.”
On Sunday, party president Akhilesh Yadav had said: “The government machinery was involved in engineering the violence and arson to blame it on the peacefully protesting people. Samajwadi Party cadre’s protest was peaceful.”
According to Singh, protestors have damaged public property worth around ~100 crore in seven districts during the protests.
Already, on chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s instructions, the Lucknow district magistrate has set up a committee to assess the damage to property during the protests. The committee has also been tasked with identifying the people involved, and levying fines on them. If they fail to pay, their property will be confiscated in keeping with a 2010 Allahabad high court order.
According to Singh, the UP police have arrested 865 people and filed 135 cases in connection with the protests. Some of the protestors used country-made pistols to target the UP Police and as many as 500 non-prohibited bore cartridges were recovered from the protest venues in Sambhal, Kanpur, Rampur, Lucknow, Aligarh, Firozabad, Muzzafarnagar and Meerut. “ As the police does not use the non-prohibited bore ammunition, it is evident that the arsonists used pistols to fire at police. We have no less than 62 police personnel with gunshot injuries among the 288 injured in controlling riot like situations, Singh said.
Singh also added that the violence in Aligarh Muslim University on December 15 was largely instigated by WhatsApp messages and Twitter posts stating that some Jamia Milia Islamia students were killed in police firing on December 15 in Delhi.
He said trouble had been building up in AMU as the vice chancellor himself informed the police in writing about possibility of protests two to three days before the events of December 15. It was only on the basis of the VC’s written permission that UP police entered the AMU to quell violence and protests. “We have already arrested the SP’s Sambhal MP for instigating violence and are examining call details from the seized phones to unearth the role of opposition parties and radical groups in the violent protests,” the DGP said.
According to the police chief, the situation in the state is under control even though the investigations into the protests will take more time.