The Uttar Pradesh cabinet this evening (Friday) approved an ordinance that would allow the state to recover the cost of damages to public property from riots accused individuals.
This development comes a few days after the Allahabad High Court ordered the state government to take down posters and hoarding containing the names and photos of individuals who had failed to pay up for the damages they reportedly caused during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) riots in December 2019.
During a hearing in the Supreme Court the state government had been told that there was no existing legislation that backs its action of putting hoardings in public places. The court then referred the matter to a three judge bench.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had made it clear from the beginning of the anti-CAA protests that while the right to peaceful protest is protected, the protesters will not be allowed to engage in violence, arson and hold hostage the common public.
When the protests turned violent in December last year, the UP administration sprung into action, and followed a zero tolerance policy against those spreading violence.
Over 1,100 people were put under arrest and 5,558 were kept in preventive detention following the violence in UP, the state with the highest Muslim population in India.
Yogi had said at the time that those who damaged public property will pay for it, and the properties of trouble-makers will be seized.
Soon, the police started the work of identifying the rioters via CCTV footage. The police shared hundreds of pictures of rioters in action on social media and asked the public to help in their identification.
After the recent anti-CAA Delhi riots in which dozens lost their lives, many hailed Yogi Adityanath’s no nonsense approach as the factor that saved the state from witnessing a similar fate.
Recently, the UP administration put up hoardings in the state with the photographs of the persons identified from the CCTV footage as the violators, and asked them to pay the compensation for the damage caused to the public property. It is at this point that the Allahabad High Court intervened.
IPS officer SR Darapuri, activist-politician Sadaf Jafar are among the well known names mentioned in the hoardings put up by the UP government.
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