Updated: January 27, 2020 8:03:38 am
Of the 34 FIRs registered in Firozabad over the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests on December 20 that turned violent, apart from the eight filed under the Arms Act, only six were registered the same day, while the remaining were filed over the next four days.
Nearly half (13) were filed by journalists, camerapersons or other private individuals, all of them on days following December 20. Talking to The Indian Express, one of them said he didn’t mean to name the three accused in the FIR, one said he had registered the case after police called him, while several said they were awaiting police action.
Twenty-one of the FIRs were filed by police or other government departments. Based on the 34 FIRs, 28 people have been sent notices for damages, over destruction of public and private properties. Only five of the FIRs contain names, mentioning 29 people. The others are against “unknown” persons or “crowds of thousands”.
As reported by The Indian Express, eight of these 29 are also facing cases under the Arms Act as separate FIRs were registered against them. Seven people had died in the December 20 violence and police action.
The notices for damages were sent last month, seeking replies within a week. Additional District Magistrate (Finance) Aditya Prakash Srivastav, who issued the notices, said, “We have received replies from a few, some have sought more time and others are yet to respond. We are yet to make a final assessment of the damage, but we will be able to complete it by the end of this month.”
Apart from ‘attempt to murder’ in some, most FIRs list charges of rioting, unlawful assembly, mischief causing damage, mischief by explosive substance, dacoity, and criminal intimidation. While six FIRs were registered on December 20, seven on December 21, 11 on December 22, seven on December 23, two on December 24 and one on December 25. While 18 FIRs were registered at Firozabad South Police Station, 16 were filed at Rasulpur Police Station.
Take the last FIR, filed on December 25, by brickshop owner Asad. It names “crowd of thousands of unknown people” and names Nadeem, Shakir and Arif, for taking away “bricks” from his shop and causing “a loss of nearly Rs 2 lakh”. Asad told The Indian Express, “I named three persons but only Arif was involved. Two names mentioned in my complaints are incorrect.”
The December 20 protests, incidentally, saw heavy stone-pelting. Police have refused to say anything on the matter.
On December 23, Hasan Zaidi filed an FIR against an “unknown crowd” over CCTV cameras installed near Nalbund Police Post being broken or burnt. He told The Indian Express, “Police called me to say CCTV cameras were broken, and I found 16 of them damaged. Then I went and filed the FIR.”
Of the two FIRs registered on December 24, one was by Brajmohan Singh, a cameraperson with Amar Bharti newspaper, against “unknown crowd of thousands” for beating him, attempting to murder and “snatching motorcycle and camera”. The other, by Gaurav Kumar Ambesh, says his Tata Magic vehicle was burnt by “around 500-700” unknown persons who threw stones towards him and “towards policemen”.
Four other FIRs were filed by journalists and camerapersons, all against “unknown persons”. In his December 23 night FIR, Sauraj Singh, a correspondent with SKN News, named “400-500 unknown persons” for snatching his digital camera. Jitendra Sharma, a reporter with Bharat Samachar News, filed an FIR on December 21 night saying he was “beaten by 25-30 people”, all “unknown”, who snatched his Samsung mobile and Rs 2,000.
Another journalist, Kashmir Singh, a reporter with Manch News, also filed an FIR the same night against “approximately 40 people” who had “pulled” him towards the street and looted his “Samsung mobile, documents and Rs 5,500”. Prashant Sharma, a reporter with India Live News, filed an FIR on December 23 against “300 unknown persons” for damaging his vehicle and snatching his Samsung mobile.
The Indian Express spoke to all these journalists and they said police had taken their statements and they were waiting for “further action”.
One of those to have received notices for damages following the FIRs is Shahjad alias Banne Khan, who is in the bangles business. Khan, who is also facing a case of attempt to murder, said, “The SHO of my police station called me on December 22 to help maintain peace. My name was taken down by policemen along with others who visited. Later I read in local newspapers that an FIR had been registered against me.” Two Hindu members of his locality have given an undertaking in response to the notice that he had no role in protests and that he is “a good character man”.
Additional Superintendent of Police Rajesh Kumar, who heads the Special Investigation Team probing the cases related to the anti-CAA protests, said, “We are trying to identify names from the video footage we have. I can’t say anything more.”
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