THE National Security Act (NSA) was invoked against a man accused of being involved in cow slaughter in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, on September 6, adding one more to the list of people against whom the stringent legislation has been used in the state this year. More than half of these cases relate to alleged cow slaughter. As per a statement by Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi, this year, till August 19, the UP Police had invoked the NSA against 139 people in the state, 76 of them for cow slaughter. As on August 31, the Bareilly police zone alone accounted for 44 of the cases.
In contrast, the police invoked the NSA against six people in connection with crimes against women and children, 37 for heinous crimes and 20 for other offences in 2020. Thirteen of the arrests under the Act are linked to the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests early this year.
Under the NSA, a person can be detained without a charge for up to 12 months if the authorities feel he or she is a threat to national security or law and order. “Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed that the NSA be slapped in case of crimes which may affect public order so that there is a feeling of fear among criminals and a feeling of safety among the public,” Awasthi said.
NSA charges apart, this year, till August 26, 1,716 cases had been registered under the Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act and over 4,000 people arrested. A closure report has been filed in 32 cases after the police failed to gather evidence against the accused. Besides, the police invoked the UP Gangsters’ Act against 2,384 and Goonda Act against 1,742 in the state on the same charges.
Sunday’s arrest was the second under the NSA for cow slaughter in the Gorakhpur police zone, under which Bahraich falls.
Additional Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar said, “Israel was arrested in July after a huge quantity of beef was recovered from him. Following the incidents of cow slaughter, the law and order situation in the area remained sensitive.” Israel has also been booked under the Goonda Act. The first two people booked in the Bareilly zone under the NSA for cow slaughter this year were Naushad and Kaseem, in their 20s. They were part of a group of six held from Haldaur area in Bijnor on April 9, with the police claiming to have seized cow meat and weapons used for slaughtering the animal from their possession.
By August end, the Bijnor police had held 11 more people under the NSA, all in connection with cow slaughter. That was second only to Badaun in the Bareilly zone, with 12 arrests under the NSA this year till August.
The other four police zones with cow slaughter charges under the NSA till July end were Meerut (5 cases), Agra (2), Varanasi (2) and Gorakhpur (1). The other five police zones in Uttar Pradesh have not reported any NSA arrests on this ground.
The Bareilly zone police has also opened history-sheets against the maximum people (282) booked for cow slaughter. Once there is a history-sheet against someone, the person is constantly monitored by the police.
Asked about the high numbers, Additional Director General, Bareilly zone, Avinash Chandra said, “We conducted a drive against people involved in cow slaughter, collecting information through intelligence.”
For the CAA protests, the NSA has been invoked against the maximum people (5 each) by the Aligarh and Mau district administrations. All five in Aligarh face charges for the same protest, on February 23 in Kotwali area, resulting in violence. Station House Officer, Kotwali Police Station, said all five — Imran, Anwar, Sabir, Fahimmuddin and Liaq Baba — remain in jail.
The Mau administration booked the five, including AIMIM district president Mohamad Asif alias Asif Chandan (38), under the NSA on September 5. They were already under arrest in connection with violence during the anti-CAA protest in Dakshintola area on December 16, 2019.
In all, five separate FIRs had been filed regarding the protest. Police have arrested 72 people under the FIRs, Station House Officer, Dakshintola Police Station, Parmanand Mishra said. Aligarh and Mau are followed by Bhadohi, with three NSA arrests linked to an anti-CAA protest, on December 20, 2019. All three are AIMIM leaders, including its district president Tanveer Hayat Khan. In March, the three were released on bail after the government did not press for extension of their detention, Superintendent of Police, Bhadohi, Ram Badan Singh said.
AIMIM organising secretary for Uttar Pradesh Mohammad Iqbal said, “My party workers are specifically being targeted because of political vendetta.” Asked about the NSA charges on the protests, Additional Director General, Law and Order, Prashant Kumar said the police had taken action on the basis of evidence.
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