The Lucknow police on Friday imposed the “Gangster Act” against those arrested for violence during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on December 19 last year.
“Over a dozen people were arrested from the spot while others were arrested after been identified through photographs and video footages of the violence”, said Additional deputy commissioner of police (west) Vikas Chandra Tripathi. He added that most of the rioters are still in jail and those out on bail would be arrested again.
Justifying the move to impose the Gangster Act, Tripathi said that investigations into the case had revealed that the violent rioters worked as a “gang” and deliberately targeted the police.
During the December 19 violence, police outposts in Thakurganj and Satkhanda were looted and set on fire by the rioters under the pretext of Anti-CAA protests. A media OB van was also set on fire in Lucknow’s Hazratganj. 28 people were arrested including the gang leader, Mohammed Tahir.
On December 23 last year, the Uttar Pradesh police had arrested the state head of the radical Islamic outfit Popular Front of India (PFI), Waseem and his two aides, namely, Nadeem and Ashfaq for allegedly masterminding the violence during the anti-CAA protests held in Lucknow. SSP Lucknow, Kalanidhi Naithani added that the police have retrieved placards, flags, pamphlets and papers, literature, newspaper cuttings, banners and posters of NRC/CAA protest from the accused.
On Friday, the Uttar Pradesh Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna announced that the state cabinet had approved the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damage to Public Properties Ordinance, 2020, thereby providing the authorisation to the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh to confiscate properties of individuals involved in damaging property during riots in the state, including the recent anti-CAA riots.
In a bid to name and shame the hoodlums who indulged in vandalism during the anti-CAA stir in UP, the Yogi Adityanath government had put up hoardings carrying names, addresses and photographs of anti-CAA rioters, who were accused of damaging public property. On March 9, the Allahabad High Court had ordered the UP government to remove the hoardings, saying that there is no law backing the action of the government.
Last week, the Supreme Court had told the Uttar Pradesh government that there was no law as of then to support its action of putting roadside posters of those accused of vandalism during the anti-CAA protests in Lucknow, referring the issue of privacy to the larger bench.