A Sessions Court in the Bijnor district of UP has allowed the bail applications concerning seven persons accused of rioting and attempt to murder during the anti-CAA/NRC protests in December last year.
The court spurned the claims made by the police that the accused had committed violent attacks, stating that it had failed to produce any evidence to show that the accused possessed weapons and indulged in firing and arson, or that police personnel sustained any bullet injury during the protests.
The order passed by Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Pandey on January 24 said,
"The prosecution has argued that the police official was injured during stone-pelting. However, no such evidence has been placed by the prosecution to show that the accused persons indulged in vandalising shops or setting houses on fire… The police has shown that it has seized .315 bore bullets. However, it has not shown any seizure of weapons from any of the accused persons. According to the prosecution itself, no police official has received any bullet injury. I have been told that police officials have received injuries due to stone-pelting however, no evidence has been produced that proves that anyone sustained serious injuries."
The court further noted that only one of the accused persons namely Imran was named in the FIR and had been arrested from the spot. No other accused were either named in the FIR or arrested from the spot.
The order is significant as it relates to alleged commission of some serious offences, including rioting and attempted murder. As per the FIR, two of the accused, Shafique Ahmed and Imran, led a crowd of some 100-150 persons from Jalalabad to protest against CAA-NRC and in the process, they blocked the NH-74. This allegedly created haywire amongst the travelers who fled the scene, apprehending danger to their lives.
The Bijnor police had arrested over 100 people and lodged multiple FIRs, claiming that these people indulged in violence and injured many police personnel, apart from damaging public property.
While during the course of hearing, the prosecution claimed that it used "minimum force" to put down the protests.
The Allahabad High Court has taken suo mot cognizance of allegations of widespread police violence to crackdown protests against CAA-NRC.
Recently, the Chairman of the Delhi Minorities Committee had written to the CJI, alleging that the Police tried to mute the dissenting voices, by unnecessarily imposing Section 144 in many places like Meerut and Bijnor and resorting to "excessive use of force". He had also urged the CJI to take suo moto cognizance of such illegal actions and prosecute the erring police officers, apart from issuing guidelines to deal with such instances in the future.