Mangaluru, January 3 (Express News Service): The interim report of a fact-finding team involving representatives of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) All India People’s Forum (AIPF) and National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO), has stated that the police action on anti-CAA and NRC protests in Mangaluru on December 19 in which two persons were killed was ‘premeditated’.
It said that cops selectively attacked Muslims, targeted shops belonging to the community and even attacked a mosque. A day before the incident, the police preparations went to the extent of arranging sandbags and riot gear at the location including deployment of external KSRP forces in the vicinity of various places, which suggests that the police action was premeditated. Cumulatively, there were not more than 200-300 protestors and not 6,000-7,000 as claimed by the police.
The team, which has gone through 60-70 videos circulated widely, said initially there were not than 150 youths who protested by only shouting slogans but were dispersed by the police, which used disproportionate violence against them.
It appears there was confusion among the youth about whether or not the protest announced for that day had been cancelled, as the message of cancellation issued after the imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144 had not circulated to all. Thereafter, the report says the police went on a rampage and stormed into shops in the vicinity, pulling out people, selectively attacking Muslims.
At around 4 pm, a team of police attacked Ibrahim Khaleel mosque where 80 persons were praying peacefully. The police apparently sought to chase certain youth into the said mosque and then initiated an indiscriminate attack on the mosque with stones and teargas through and above the slats of the mosque gate.
Further, the report says that the leaders of the community were brought in by the police to calm the situation down. In fact, they were succeeding in doing so when one leader Ashraf was injured on the head by the police. This aggravated the situation.
The report also claims that Abdul Jaleel and Nausheen, who were killed in police firing, were bystanders and were not part of the protest.
YJ Rajendra, PULC state president, said the fact that the police mentioning the religion of riot-accused as ‘Muslims’ in an open FIR again proves beyond doubt that the police acted with prejudices against the community. “If the police claim that they opened fire as the protestors tried to torch the police station is true, then CCTV images in the police station should be made public,” he demanded.
On police creating havoc in ICU of a private hospital, Rajendra said hospitals are not targetted even during wars.