Cong demands judicial inquiry into ‘unlawful conduct’ of UP police

CAA
Police personnel baton charge at anti-citizenship law protesters in Varanasi | PTI File

The Congress party on Monday (December 30) demanded a judicial inquiry into the “unlawful conduct” of the Uttar Pradesh police during violent protests against the new citizenship law, saying the conduct of the police were observed to be “patently unlawful”.

In a 14-page memorandum to Governor Anandiben Patel, signed by Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and UP party chief Ajay Kumar Lallu, it said the conduct of the police had been observed and reported to be “patently unlawful, destructive of the rule of law and repressive of honest citizens”.

The memorandum stated, “This is unbefitting of a force that is duty bound to safeguard and protect the rights of every citizen.” It was handed over to the governor by Lallu and other senior party leaders. Priyanka Gandhi, who is in Lucknow, was, however, not part of the Congress delegation that went to Raj Bhawan.

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“An impartial assessment of all cases filed on peaceful protestors and their validity be made with immediate effect by an independent commission under a sitting or retired high court judge and bail be granted forthwith to all those who have been wrongly charged and were not engaged in any unlawful or illegal act,” the memorandum said.

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“Twenty three deaths have taken place in the state due to police excesses and police brutality against the CAA/NRC protestors. A full judicial inquiry is required into each and every one of these incidents to ascertain the culpability of the administration and the police and provide justice to the families of the deceased,” it said.

However, according to official figure, the toll stood at 19.

The party also demanded that notices for confiscation of property, their sealing and other similar punitive actions be suspended till an inquiry by competent authorities is completed. The memorandum said any punitive action taken thereafter should be legally endorsed by a judicial authority to be appointed by the Supreme Court.

Also read | They grabbed me by my neck: Priyanka alleges manhandling by UP cops

The Congress demanded that students participating in peaceful protests be assured they will not face academic or legal repercussions and their right to free expression will be protected and upheld by the law and the state. The memorandum also referred to the brutal assault on woman party worker Sadaf Jafar and said she was arrested without any cause or reason.

Meanwhile, Priyanka Gandhi told a press conference the Uttar Pradesh government and state police have taken several steps which are not legal and have led to anarchy in the state. She had earlier blamed the state police for manhandling her after she resisted their attempts to stop her from visiting an arrested protester’s residence.

(With inputs from agencies)

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