THREE PERSONS were killed in alleged police firing — two in the coastal Karnataka city of Mangalore and one in the Old Lucknow locality of UP — after protests against the new citizenship law turned violent in these areas despite prohibitory orders.
“There are two bodies at the Highland Hospital of persons who died in the police firing. One is Abdul Jaleel, 49, and the other is Naushin, 26,” said a councillor in the Mangalore City Corporation, Abdul Lathif, who was at the hospital Thursday night.
In Lucknow, officials identified the man who died as Mohammad Wakeel (25) from the Daulatganj area. Authorities at the King George Medical University said he was brought to the trauma centre with a “gunshot wound” on the abdomen.
The trauma centre in-charge said Wakeel was among four persons who were admitted between 4 pm and 4.55 pm Thursday with “gunshot injuries”. However, UP DGP O P Singh said Wakeel’s death had “nothing to do with the agitation”.
In Karnataka, senior officials were silent on the deaths although Mangalore Police Commissioner P S Harsha participated in a press conference with Muslim leaders who said that two deaths had occurred during violence in the city.
CCTV footage from the hospital showed policemen entering the premises Thursday evening and resorting to a lathicharge to disperse those gathered in the compound.
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa asked ADGP (law and order), Amar Kumar Pandey, to rush to Mangalore to take charge of the situation. “I have given instructions to police to not allow such incidents to happen again in the region,” he said. The state home department also banned Internet services in the Mangalore region for 48 hours.
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On Wednesday, Yediyurappa had said that CAA would be implemented in the state. On Thursday, he moved to assure the Muslim community that their interests would be protected by the BJP government in the state.
“I appeal to Muslim brothers to maintain peace and order. Protecting your interests is our responsibility. The CAA law will not affect you. The CAA is no threat to the people of this country. It is an Act applied to people from other countries who seek citizenship. CAA does not discriminate people on the basis of religion. Citizenship is accorded on the basis of nationality and not on the basis of religion or caste,” he said.
In Lucknow, meanwhile, police said Wakeel suffered a “bullet injury in his stomach in the Old Lucknow area” while protesters were returning home after a demonstration. They said he was “immediately rushed to hospital where he died during treatment”.
Speaking to reporters, DGP O P Singh said: “I do not think the death has any connection with today’s agitation, or with the police reaction and action. We are not going to discuss what happened and what didn’t, and our priority is to maintain law and order. We will analyse what happened later. At present, the priority is law and order, and to peacefully organise Friday prayers tomorrow. Our forces and magistrates are all on the field and the situation is normal across the state.”
Sandeep Tiwari, the trauma centre in-charge, said the “four persons admitted were identified as Jilani (15), Ranjeet Singh (47), Mohammad Wakeel (25) and Waseem Khan (22)”. “All except Ranjeet have gunshot injuries. Wakeel succumbed to injuries,” said Tiwari, who also heads the trauma surgery department.
Late Thursday, a purported video was shared on social media in which a man claiming to be Wakeel’s brother alleged that a Sub-Inspector near the Hussainabad police post had shot his brother. The man claimed that he and his brother were auto drivers. He claimed his brother had got married around 18 months ago, and that his wife was pregnant.
“My brother had to go to the United Arab Emirates, and we were never involved in any matter related to police,” the man claimed.
Circle Officer (Chowk), Durga Prasad Tiwari, said he had not seen the video but denied the allegations that the death occurred in police firing.