October 12, 2021 4:18:34 am
Nearly a week after 16 people were arrested in connection with burning of an effigy of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Meerut, Monu Chaudhary and his wife Poonam are still trying to secure bail for their son Dushyant, 18, a BBA first-year student.
On the evening of October 4, a group of people allegedly tried burning an effigy of Adityanath while protesting against the Lakhimpur Kheri deaths when some policemen tried to take hold of the effigy. In the melee, two policemen, including an inspector, sustained burn injuries, according to police.
All 16 arrested persons, including some Samajwadi Party members, have been booked for attempt to murder and two more non-bailable sections of IPC and CrPC. Two more persons have been named in the FIR but have not been arrested yet.
On Monday, they were produced before a court. The matter will be heard next on Wednesday.
Dushyant Chaudhary’s parents said he and his friend Shekhar Dungar, also a BBA first-year student, were not involved in the protests.
Monu Chaudhary, 42, who runs a small dairy with his wife at Meerut’s Ekta Nagar, said his son and Shekhar know a person named Pradeep Sardana, who is associated with the SP. “Pradeep had called Dushyant and Shekhar around 4.30 pm on October 4 and asked them to arrange for food and water for him and others detained by police. The two of them went to the Civil Lines police station with water bottles and a bunch of bananas. Both were arrested.”
Shekhar’s father Arjun Dangar also claimed that his son was not involved in the protests. He said, “Shekhar accompanied Dushyant to the police station to give water bottles and fruit to the SP workers. But he too was arrested.”
The police said they have evidence against all 16 people arrested in connection with the protests. “There were 300 protesters; we detained only 25, and the FIR was lodged against 18 persons. Sixteen accused have been arrested, while two are absconding,” SSP (Meerut) Prabhakar Chaudhary told The Indian Express over telephone.
“We have gone through the video footage available and collected forensic evidence before making the arrests. No one has been arrested without proper scrutiny of evidence available – they were carrying petrol and other inflammable liquid. Two policemen have suffered burn injuries in the incident,” the SSP said.
Rajpal Singh, who heads the local Samajwadi Party unit, said he has met the DM and the SSP for release of the two students, Dushyant and Shekhar. “The burning of the effigy is the simplest form of protest in a democracy. The career of students who have been arrested now stand ruined,” he said.
Most of those arrested belong to lower-income groups, and their families cannot afford the legal expenses involved in ensuring bail, Singh said.
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