Anti-CAA protests: UP govt starts identifying, sealing assets of vandals

Police in Lucknow charge protesters during a rally against the Citizenship Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens on December 19, 2019 | Photo: PTI

As a first step towards making protestors pay for causing damage to public properties during agitations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the Uttar Pradesh government has begun the process of identifying the vandals, with the Lucknow district administration forming a four-member panel to assess the damage.

The additional district magistrate (east) has been made the in-charge of assessing the damage to various property in eastern part of the city, Lucknow District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash told PTI.

Similarly, the additional district magistrate (west) and additional district magistrate (trans-Gomti) have been assigned the task of evaluating the loss in their areas. Additional district magistrate (administration) has been assigned with the task for the rural areas, the Lucknow DM said.

The Gorakhpur police had on Saturday released photographs of around 50 people allegedly involved in protests against the amended citizenship law here after the Friday prayers. The police said the troublemakers have been identified from the video footage.

"Around 50 people involved in the violence have been identified through video footage and their pictures will be put up all crossroads and major spots," Kotwali Circle Officer V P Singh had said.

The move comes days after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that properties of all those involved in violence would be confiscated to offset the damage.

Protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Act that broke out in several districts of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday left at least 16 people dead and moveable and immoveable assets damaged, mostly in arson.

The amended citizenship law allows citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis who entered India before 2015 after facing religious persecution in three neighbouring countries. The list excludes Muslims.

Adityanath had said that the wrong-doers would be identified with the help of CCTV footage, video clips and photographs.

The action is based on a Supreme Court order that rioters would be strictly made liable for the damage, and compensation would be collected to make good the damage.

The chief minister had said that property of those involved in the violence would be seized and auctioned to compensate destruction of public assets during the protests over the amended citizenship law.

"There is no place for violence in a democracy... those damaging property have been captured in video and CCTV footage," he had said, while appealing to people to maintain peace.

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