Updated: December 31, 2019 7:26:42 am
Three days after a group of Muslim residents of Bulandshahr handed over a draft of Rs 6.27 lakh to the administration for damage caused to public property in violence during protests against the citizenship law and NRC, District Magistrate Ravindra Kumar on Monday said the administration had estimated the amount for losses incurred, and recovery notices would have started going out had this initiative not come from “some good citizens”.
On the assessment of damage, DM Kumar said, “I constituted a committee comprising members of the district administration, police, PWD and traffic officials. One police vehicle — a Tata Sumo — had been damaged, along with one walkie-talkie set and minor damages to the road. They estimated this figure after proper deliberation.”
He said, “Some good citizens came forward to compensate the assessed damages. If it wouldn’t have been the case, we would have had to recover it from those found responsible, as announced by the Chief Minister.”
That the FIR after the violence on December 20 mentions 1,050 “unknown” people also led to the initiative, residents indicated.
“There is widespread fear that anyone might be picked up, arrested, and asked to pay damages. Our message is that the Muslim samaj is cooperating with the administration, and we hope the administration cooperates with us — by not harassing innocents. They should take action only against people against whom they have evidence,” said Haji Akram, councillor from Bulandshahr’s ward 37 and BSP member.
A group of Muslim residents had handed over a demand draft of Rs 6,27,507 to the DM and SSP Santosh Kumar Singh on December 27.
Haji Yunus, block pramukh of Bulandshahr, BSP member and one of the key facilitators of the initiative, called it “a gesture of goodwill from the people”.
Some people in the city also question the message being sent out through this initiative. “I am uncomfortable with it. By doing this, it appears we are saying that we are responsible for what happened; that we are culprits. We should instead demand an impartial inquiry and investigation into police’s role in violence and damage,” said Amir Ghazi, an advocate.
SSP Singh said the police are trying to identify those involved in violence. “The recovery for damage to public property is separate from the criminal cases. They should not be spoken about together. Crime is not compoundable,” he said.
“Charges have been pressed against 23 named individuals and 1,050 unknown people. So far, 13 people have been arrested — all from among those put down as “unknown” — after studying CCTV footage and other evidence,” SP (City) Atul Kumar Srivastava said.
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