The Firozabad district administration is yet to make a final estimate of the damage to property during anti-CAA protests, but it has sent showcause notices to 26 people accusing them of damaging public and private property and sought a response within a week.
The families of some of those who were served notices told The Indian Express that they are daily wagers and labourers who got caught in the ruckus while on their routine jobs. Most of the recipients of the notices are in jail.
One of the recipients, Adil, a 20-year-old, is the second of six children of Sayeed Khan. He is a carpenter and works with his father. “On his way back after namaz, he was talking to me when the mobile phone call got disconnected. Later we heard he is in jail. He told me the police beat him badly. I have received a notice for damage to property, but my son was doing his job and had no role in damaging property,” Sayeed said.
All the notices issued by the Firozabad ADM have similar language: “…from the FIR I am convinced that you are prima facie responsible for (damage of public and private property). Appear before this court within a week and clarify why an order should not be issued to you for the recovery of this damage.”
None of the notices mentions any specific damage. It only says that on December 20, “properties of PWD, municipal corporation, police and other government departments and properties of other private persons were damaged”.
Similar is the case of 20-year-old Amir. The fourth of six siblings, he works as a mason in workshops and earns Rs 150-200 a day, according to his family. His brother Asif said, “He was returning after delivering goods and got caught in the crowd. He entered a shop, where youths of another community beat him and snatched his mobile, Rs 2,670 that he was carrying, and the receipt of goods he had delivered. Those youths handed him to the police. He has nothing to do with the protests.”
Then there is Nadeem (27). The father of three earns Rs 200 a day as a daily wage worker. His father Rayees said, “I met him in jail. He said he had gone to take his wages, and got stuck in the crowd while returning. Police arrested and beat him. He had no role, and is unable to pay the amount in the notice.”
From Nadeem’s locality, 23-year-old Hafiz was also arrested. The eldest of four siblings, he is a tutor and a cleric at a mosque. His mother Reshma said, “In the peace committee meeting, when officials were told that Hafiz is a maulana, they said he would be released soon. That is yet to happen.”
While those who have received notices are preparing their responses with limited resources and knowledge of law, Additional District Magistrate Aditya Prakash Sriwastav said, “We have an estimate that public and private property of Rs 20-25 lakh was damaged. Final figures will be calculated by a technical committee. We have sent notices based on FIRs.”
SSP Shachindra Patel said, “We have taken views of all concerned departments to arrive at the final cost. We are not victimising anybody.”
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