Ex-IPS officer, 'named and shamed' in Uttar Pradesh, speaks up
The decision of the Yogi Aditynath government to name and shame protesters of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) puts their life at risk, said former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer SR Darapuri, who also featured in the hoardings that were put up in Lucknow. Darapuri appreciated the Allahabad High Court for saying that the posters were an "absolute encroachment on personal liberty". Those who featured were accused of inciting violence.
For the first time in India's history, a law makes religion a criterion for granting citizenship to persecuted minorities from neighboring countries. It invited criticism from several quarters. Since December, India has been witnessing widespread protests against CAA, which turned most violent in UP. The state police was condemned for resorting to excesses and booking people without solid evidence.
UP also became the first state where protesters were asked to pay for damages caused to public property. The hoardings, which were installed at important junctions in the state capital, underlined the same. The posters carried names, photos, and addresses of the protesters, some of whom said they would go to courts against the humiliation. A spokesperson said they were put on CMO's directives.
Taking suo motu cognizance of the matter, Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, Govind Mathur said it was highly unjust. He asked Lucknow Commissioner of Police, Sujit Pandey, and District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash to explain under which law were the hoardings put up. "The action by the Chief Justice of the Allahabad HC is welcome," Darapuri, one of the most prominent anti-CAA voices, said.
"In our case, our photographs have been taken - I don't know from where. It is illegal and they have put up on hoardings. It is a violation of our privacy and it has endangered our life and liberty and I personally hold the state responsible," the civil servant-turned-activist said.
Senior advocate KK Rai said Justice Mathur noted that the action defied privacy. It should be noted that the court heard the case on Sunday, a holiday. The hearing lasted for nearly an hour wherein several questions were asked. The verdict is expected today. Apart from Darapuri, activist-politician Sadaf Jafar, lawyer Mohammed Shoaib, and theatre personality Deepak Kabir also featured in the posters.
Expressing frustration at the posters, Jafar, who was arrested and granted bail later, said, "How can we be publicly humiliated for something that has not yet been proved in court. This is not Afghanistan." Reminding that she has always cooperated in the investigation, she asked why were similar posters of defaulters like Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya never put up.