LUCKNOW, Feb 14: The Opposition on Friday demanded a judicial probe into deaths during the anti-CAA protests in Uttar Pradesh, with the Samajwadi Party alleging that the casualties were caused in firing by police and BJP men.
The demand was raised in the state assembly during Zero Hour, when opposition parties also pressed for a discussion on the issue.
Opposition MLAs walked into the Well of the House, creating a ruckus, when Speaker Hriday Narayan Dixit turned down the notice for a discussion. The House was then adjourned for 30 minutes.
The SP sought a probe by a sitting Supreme Court or High Court judge into the deaths during the protests against the new citizenship law. The BSP said a High Court judge should investigate.
“Hindus and Muslims fought together for the freedom of the country. Those who fought for freedom are being termed ‘deshdrohi’ (traitors) while those who supported the British have become ‘rashtrawadi’ (nationalists),” Leader of Opposition, SP’s Ram Govind Chowdhury said while demanding a discussion.
“During the anti-CAA protests, only Muslims were killed,” he said and claimed that there was firing by police and BJP men during the “peaceful protests”.
About 20 people were killed, mostly due to gunshot wounds, during protests in Uttar Pradesh on December 20 over the Citizenship Amendment Act.
There were several clashes between police and protesters after Friday prayers, and property damaged.
In the assembly, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna backed the police version that the deaths were not the result of police firing.
Bahujan Samaj Party leader Lalji Verma called for a probe by a high court judge and demanded that the victim’s families should be given Rs 50 lakh each as compensation.
Congress Legislature Party Leader Aradhana Mishra Mona too alleged police atrocities.
“In Lucknow, police took away women protesters’ blankets and food at night. In Azamgarh, police filled water in a park at 2.30 am to disperse women protesters,” she said.
SP member Nafees Khan said in Azamgarh’s Bilariyaganj police used tear gas, fired rubber bullets and resorted to a brutal lathi-charge on peaceful protesters. In his reply, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna said law and order is under control in the state run by Yogi Adityanath’s BJP government.
He said peaceful protests are welcome but the government will not allow anyone to take the law in their hands.
“We have 75 districts. Except in six or seven districts, protests were held everywhere. The opposition misled people and supported the protests. The citizenship law is not against anyone,” he said.
Defending the police action, Khanna said there was arson in seven or eight districts. In the entire state, property worth crores was damaged, he added.
“Sixty-one policemen received injuries, including those from firearms. In such a situation, police cannot sit idle. Had police not acted, the situation would have been worse,” he said. He said 21 people died in the state during the anti-CAA protests and claimed this was due to their “own clashes” and not police firing. The 30-minute adjournment after the Speaker disallowed a separate discussion on the deaths was the second during the pre-lunch sitting.
Earlier, the House was adjourned for 20 minutes as Samajwadi Party and Congress members created an uproar over the alleged failure of the BJP government to control law and order in the state. (PTI)