On June 15, the Jharkhand government sought an explanation from the Senior Superintendent of Police over posters of Ranchi violence accused that the Police had pasted across the city. In its letter to SSP Surendra Kumar Jha, Home Secretary Rajiv Arun Ekka said that the posters released by Jharkhand Police on June 14 in connection to the violence that erupted in Ranchi on June 10 contained personal details of the accused.
Such posters, according to the letter, were again “unlawful” as they go against the judgment of Allahabad High Court in PIL 532/2020 dated March 9, 2020. The Home Secretary asked SSP to submit an explanation in two days.
On June 14, Jharkhand Police had put up posters that contained photographs of those who were allegedly involved in the Ranchi violence on June 10 over remarks on Prophet Muhammad by former spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party, Nupur Sharma, during a debate on Times Now. The Police had released the photographs of the persons who were caught on camera pelting stones and taking part in the violence. Within a day, Jharkhand’s home secretary sought an explanation why such posters were put up.
A day before the photographs were put up, Ramesh Bais, Governor of Jharkhand, had summoned Director General of Police Neeraj Sinha, Ranchi Senior Superintendent of Police Surendra Kumar Jha and Deputy Commissioner Chhavi Ranjan along with other senior officials and sought a reply as to why the administration failed to take preventive measures or action to disperse the crowd when the mob got violent on June 10 in Ranchi.
The governor had instructed the Jharkhand Police to find all details of protestors and put up hoarding with their photographs across Ranchi so that they could be identified with the help of the public.
Furthermore, a PIL was filed recently in Jharkhand High Court seeking an investigation of Ranchi violence by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Two people had died, and 20, including Police personnel, were injured in the violence.
The Posters were removed by the Police, citing ‘technical flaws’. The Police said they would be installed again after removing the errors. So far, the Police have arrested 29 people in connection with the violence. The situation is still tense in Ranchi, and Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed in the city.
BJP leader slammed the government
Following the letter issued by State Home Secretary, BJP MP Giriraj Singh slammed the Jharkhand government and said, “For the Jharkhand government, the safety of jihadis has become more important than the safety of the common citizen.”
For the Jharkhand government, the safety of jihadis has become more important than the safety of the common citizen.— Shandilya Giriraj Singh (@girirajsinghbjp) June 16, 2022
झारखंड सरकार के लिए जिहादियों की सुरक्षा आम नागरिक की सुरक्षा से ज्यादा महत्वपूर्ण हो गई है। pic.twitter.com/2Goz7orsOT
Allahabad High Court judgment over posters of accused
In March 2020, after Uttar Pradesh Police put up posters of the accused in anti-CAA protests and violence, PIL was filed in Allahabad High Court against the move. On March 9, Allahabad High Court instructed the state government to remove the posters calling them an unwarranted interference in the privacy of the people.
UP govt challenged the judgment in Supreme Court
The judgment of the Allahabad High Court was challenged in the Supreme Court. On March 12, the Supreme Court [PDF] refused to stay the Allahabad High Court judgment and said, “Considering the nature of the matter and the issue of significance involved therein, in our view, the matter be placed before a Bench of at least Three Judges as early as possible and preferably in the week commencing March 16 2020.”
Later, on March 17, Allahabad High Court granted more time to the state government to submit a compliance report as the matter was sub judice in the apex court. Since then, the matter has been under consideration by a three-Judge bench at the Supreme Court.
Notably, the Uttar Pradesh State Government has passed an Act titled ‘Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages To Public and Private Property Act’ that allows the government to put up posters of the accused with their details (if applicable) in riots and violence for recovery of the damages.