Bring policemen who killed protesters to book

Updated: Dec 23, 2019, 07:29 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

India's most populous state is also home to about 4.5 crore Muslims. It is no surprise then that most of the ant-CAA protests of the past week have broken out in UP

Picture/Twitter ANI
Picture/Twitter ANI

As protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, which excludes Muslims, and the proposed Nation Register of Citizens, which aims to exclude most IDs that Indians consider proof of citizenship, rage across the country, Uttar Pradesh has come in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

India's most populous state is also home to about 4.5 crore Muslims. It is no surprise then that most of the ant-CAA protests of the past week have broken out in UP. There is genuine fear that the laws will reduce Muslims to second-class citizens, or worse, put them in detention centres.

What is surprising is another statistic — almost all of the more than 20 people killed are from UP. These protests began in Assam, where the local population is against any kind of migration to the state, be it Hindus or Muslims. They then broke out in Delhi, where police unleashed unprecedented violence against students, even entering libraries and firing tear-gas shells against students in confined spaces. Soon, concerned citizens — especially students — in major Indian cities were up in arms against the laws and police violence.

But, only the states ruled by the BJP seem to be witnessing killings by the police. First it was Mangaluru, where two people were shot dead. Now in UP, where internet is banned, armed personnel have been heavily deployed on the streets, the chief minister talks of "taking revenge" against protesters, the state is "sealing assets" of alleged rioters, and movement is restricted. It is clear that there is a problem in how the BJP-ruled states are handling protests.

Considering that both, the Centre and UP are ruled by the BJP, there needs to be a concerted effort by the Union ministry to, first, restore normalcy in UP and, second, hold the policemen responsible for the deaths to account and bring them to justice.

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