The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sought a report from the Telangana Director General of Police (DGP) on January 22 on a complaint alleging harassment by senior police officials against a person who was protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) in the state of Telangana. The commission sought a report from the DGP regarding the claims of intimidation used by police officials, while the protestor was exercising his Right to peaceful assembly, in four weeks' time.
The complainant, an Amnesty member named Mohammad Abdul Mujeeb, claims that he was intimidated and threatened over a phone call by the Inspector Special Branch after carrying out a peaceful protest rally in Karimnagar on December 22. The next day he was summoned before the Commissioner, who did not address his grievance, and later again summoned before the Inspector at the concerned Police Station. This inspector, later joined by the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), conducted closed door counselling sessions with Mujeeb. These sessions reportedly cast aspersions on the nature of protests, questioned the leanings of protestors towards the ideology of Jinnah, told the complainant to hurl abuses at Jinnah to prove his status as an Indian, and involved explanations of CAA. At the end of the explanation, Mujeeb alleges that he was asked to accept to police's explanation of the legislation if he were a 'true Indian'. The Karimnagar police had, however, outrightly rejected these claims.
In light of a newspaper report detailing this complaint, lawyers Bilal Khan and Anshu Kapoor moved the NHRC on behalf of Mujeeb. It has been urged that the complainant was merely exercising his Fundamental Right under Article 19(1)(b) whereas the allegations against the police are serious ones. The commission has been asked to take immediate action and send its own team to investigate the situation. Concern has also been expressed regarding whether the police is in fact conducting such closed door counselling sessions and, to ensure it is not doing so, the complainants have urged for an NHRC team to be sent to the area to speak with families over there and ascertain that there are no threats or intimidation tactics being employed. In the absence of an effective intervention by an authority such as NHRC, it is furthered, the police might cover up such actions and get impunity.
The complainant seeks an in depth inquiry into allegations regarding allegedly communal, prejudicial and threatening remarks made by police officials, with a direction to the Telangana DGP to set up such an inquiry against the concerned officials. Additionally, initiation of criminal proceedings against those officers has also been prayed for.
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