Congress Moves NHRC Over Police ‘Atrocities’ On Protesters In Uttar Pradesh
The Congress on Monday moved the National Human Rights Commission demanding action against alleged police atrocities on anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters in Uttar Pradesh, alleging that victims have been made accused in case-related FIRs and no police officer has been named.
The Congress delegation, led by senior party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, met top NHRC officials and made a detailed 31-page representation which included videos and photographs as "evidence" of alleged atrocities and human rights violations.
After the meeting, Rahul Gandhi alleged the UP government has "gone to war against its own people" and urged the NHRC to act decisively to protect the "Constitutional rights of our citizens".
"A delegation of Congress leaders presented the NHRC with evidence of the atrocities against the citizens of UP by the State Govt., which has gone to war against its own people. The NHRC must act decisively to protect the idea of India & the Constitutional rights of our citizens," he said in a tweet.
The party also submitted a memorandum to the NHRC in which it has alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state "treats its own citizens like criminals".
"Given the role of a reckless state government that views the law and constitution as mere inconveniences, treats its own citizens like criminals and wears its hostility towards ordinary citizens as a badge of pride, the duty of institutions such as the NHRC to act as checks and balances and to embody and protect the values enshrined in the Constitution of India becomes paramount," the Congress memorandum said.
It further said the NHRC has a "glorious history" of addressing injustices when all other institutions have fallen short. "We hope and expect that this instance will not be an exception to that legacy."
After the meeting, Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi told reporters, "In Uttar Pradesh, there has been gross human rights violations. We have submitted videos and photos to the NHRC."
"It has been found that there has been a failure to lodge FIRs. Not a single police officer (has been) named as accused. There have been numerous FIRs against protestors in which victims have become accused," he alleged.
Singhvi said the Congress has given detailed facts including on "deaths of 23" people and also details on how they were killed "as some were shot in the chest".
"We showed videos of BJP and RSS people recruited as police mitras who were unleashed on people. Notices were given to people by administration threatening them against joining protests," he alleged.
The memorandum submitted by the Congress said photos and videos uploaded by witnesses, ground reports and other "unbiased" media reports show police firing and mercilessly beating of the protesters, in some cases even minors.
"They are also seen destroying public and private property. The fact that such actions were neither punished nor even taken cognizance of by the state government points towards one of only two possibilities - either the police and state government were working in connivance with each other or such actions were ignored by the state government in order to curb the protests," the memorandum said.
"Both conclusions are disturbing and directly offensive of the Rule of Law and the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution," it added.
The leaders who met the NHRC officials included Mohsina Kidwai, Salman Khurshid, PL Punia, Jitin Prasada, Rajiv Shukla and UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu.
The Congress leaders demanded a thorough probe into the deaths that took place in the state during violent protests against the amendments in the country's citizenship law.