Anti-CAA protests: In a first, UP tribunal fines 86 persons for damaging property

anti-CAA protests

This is the first order passed under the controversial Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Act, 2020.

Sana Ejaz |

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NEW DELHI — Under the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Act, 2020, the Uttar Pradesh court in its first judgment on 2019 CAA-NRC protests imposed a fine of Rs 4,27,439 on 86 accused.

The order was passed by the Uttar Pradesh Public and Private Property Damage Recovery Claims Tribunal in Meerut, according to Amroha District Magistrate BK Tripathi. This is the first such order passed under this Act.

The Uttar Pradesh government had also issued notices to many Muslim leaders involved in the protest to compensate for the loss. The government had put up hoardings with pictures and descriptions of individuals accused of violence. As per reports, the police had registered a case against 55 named and 1500 unknown in the violence in Amroha.

Mohammed Javed, who was among those directed to pay the fine, claimed that the police framed innocent persons without evidence. “The truth will come out if proper investigation is carried out, everything is being done arbitrarily. We will appeal before a higher court,” he said, according to The Times of India.

According to the Hindu, critics have argued that the Act deviates from the normal legal process wherein the burden of proof lies on the accuser (law enforcement agencies). This Act expects the accused to present evidence of innocence from the alleged crimes, on account of simply them being named as accused.

“The court has taken action against all the accused and soon the fine will also be recovered. All the parties have been heard and the decision had been given following the act,” DM said. 

The protests were witnessed across the country after the Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed in Parliament. There were fierce demonstrations against it in many cities of Uttar Pradesh. Violent clashes between protesters and the police also took place, in which public and private property were damaged.

On December 20, 2019, during the protest against CAA, NRC, at least 16 people were killed in clashes between the police and protestors fourteen of them died due to firearm injuries, according to The Indian Express. Police said that protesters set arson and allegedly broke riot control equipment and set police vehicles on fire. 

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act provides citizenship to refugees from six non-Muslim religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014.

Sana Ejaz is an independent journalist from Bihar. She tweets @SanaEjaz_