Police action premeditated, Muslims targeted: Interim report on Mangaluru Police Firing shows disturbing results.
02 Jan 2020
On 19th December there were anti-CAA/ NPR protests held in Mangaluru city that was met with police action. Two people were killed in Mangaluru in police firing after protests allegedly turned violent, and scores were injured, properties were damaged and several criminal cases were filed and with people also being arrested. Some journalists too were at the receiving end of police violence, while several journalists, especially from Kerala based media, were also detained by the police and later released. The State Government and the police claims that there was no police excess and that all actions by the police and district administration was in accordance with law, whereas the civil society organizations and the opposition have refuted the same, and believe that the police action was excessive, biased and specifically targeted the Muslim community.
In the wake of this, the Karnataka Chief Minister initially declared a compensation of Rs. Ten Lakh each for the families of the deceased, only to later withdraw the same. The Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai has claimed that, “People who had come from Kerala to participate in the protest also tried to set fire to a police station in Mangaluru and damaged public property. To control the mob, police had to use force”. Within a day after the statement by the Home Minister, the Kerala Government made travel arrangements for all Kerala students in Mangaluru to ensure a safe passage for the students back to their home state. The state government on its part has announced a magisterial inquiry into the violence. The incidents of December 19th have shocked the conscience of the people of Karnataka.
A team of human right and civil liberty activists from Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Delhi consisting of Avani Chokshi, Clifton D’ Rozario, Swathi Seshadri, Venugopalan K.M. and (All AIPF), Himanshu Kumar, Panditaradhya, Venkatraju, YJ Rajendra and (All PUCL), Mohammed Nowfal (Tamil Nadu) and Umar Farouq (Karnataka) (both NCHRO) was constituted to conduct a fact finding into the same on 1st and 2nd January 2020.
The team has met with the families of the deceased victims as also other victims of police violence, shopkeepers in the State Bank and Bunder area, administration and others in the Ibrahim Khaleel mosque, met the administration of Highland Hospital and District Medical Officer, Dr. Rajeshwari Devi of Wenlock Hospital, met Shri Madan Mohan, Assistant Commissioner, and Dr. P.S. Harsha, Commissioner of Police. The team also met with patients of police excess admitted in Highlands and Unity Hospital. We must clarify that on meeting with the Commissioner of Police, he informed us that he was too busy to have a discussion, and would prefer if we submitted whatever questions we had or clarifications we sought in writing, which has been done last evening and still no response is received to the same. The team has also gone through innumerable videos and photos of various incidents that occurred through the day of 19th December, which conclusively determines certain aspects as below:
- It appears that there was heavy police deployment, including of external KSRP forces in the vicinity at various places, especially at the State Bank circle. Preparations went to the extent of arranging for sand bags and riot gear at the location.
- Beginning from the afternoon all the way through the evening, it appears that cumulatively there were not more than 200-300 protesters who had taken to the streets. This goes contrary to the claims of the police that thousands poured onto the streets. Including bystanders and travelers who had alighted from buses there were no more than 400 in the State bank and Bunder area.
- The first incident appears to have occurred around 1.30 pm, when a handful of youth attempted to protest against the CAA but were dispersed by the police, which used excessive violence against them. From the videos circulating widely, it is apparent that their number was not more than 150 and that they were only shouting slogans.
- The protesters were violently thrashed, kicked, pushed around and abused before being thrown into police vans without any provocation in a premeditated manner. The police came down upon them with disproportionate force and violence. We are given to understand that several persons who were at the receiving end of police brutality including media persons have approached the police and other concerned authorities for action to be taken against the police.
- It appears that there was some confusion amongst the youth about whether or not the protest announced for that day had been cancelled, as the message of cancellation issued after imposition of prohibitory orders under section 144 had not circulated to all.
- It appears that thereafter, 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 about 80 persons were praying peacefully. The police apparently sought to chase certain youth into the said mosque and then initiated an indiscriminate attack upon the mosque. The police launched an attack of stones and teargas through and above the slats of the mosque gate, causing havoc and confusion.
- Obviously, the premeditated lathi charge coupled with the attack on innocent people during prayers at the mosque and the targeting of Muslim shops and vendors infuriated the youth, leading to bands of protesters gathering at corners and intermittently pelting stones.
- The leaders of the community were brought in by the police to try to calm the situation down, and, in fact, were succeeding in doing so when one leader, Ashraf, the former Mayor of Mangaluru city, was injured on the head by the police. Reports differ in regard to whether the injury was caused by a bullet. This again aggravated the situation.
- At this point, the police began indiscriminate firing of guns and teargas. Two innocent bystanders were killed during this firing, both of which took place on Azizuddin Road, where the Mangaluru North Police Station is located. One of them was a 42-year old father of two and daily wage earner on the docks, who had stepped out of his house to offer Namaz. There was no mob present, yet tear gas and bullets was being fired into the road, one of which hit Abdul Jaleel in the head. In another incident on another end of Azizuddin Road, 23-year old Nausheen who was attempting to return home from the workshop he was working at, fell prey to the blind and indiscriminate firing when a bullet hit him in his midriff. Highland Hospital where many of the seriously injured were admitted, reported that there were 5 persons admitted with bullet and shell linked injuries. This is apart from Jaleel and Nausheen. The family members reported that they have filed complaints with the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). The killing of Jaleel and Nausheen are extra judicial killings as they were done outside the procedures of law. The very next day the hospital administration filed a complaint and wanted action to be taken against the responsible personnel but no action was taken in this regard.
- After Jaleel and Nausheen were declared dead on arrival by Highland Hospital, the police was called so that the bodies could be handed over to them as these were Medico Legal Cases (MLC). The police upon arrival at the hospital were faced by an angry group of mourners, who pelted stones at the police outside the hospital. The police engaged in lathi charge outside the hospital. They did not stop there. The police then fired tear gas within the hospital compound and proceeded to storm the hospital. They tried to barge into patient rooms including the ICU. Atleast 3 patients who were admitted there prior to December 19th were adversely affected due to this. The health of 2 patients who were admitted with respiratory issues deteriorated and had to be shifted to the ICU and one of them was put on a ventilator. Both these patients would otherwise have been discharged within 2-3 days but have now had to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks. One of the patients incurred an expense of Rs. 1,58,000 out of which the ICU charges was Rs. 90,000. This expense in only because of the tear gas firing by the police. Another 65-year old man who was to be discharged on December 20th and has gone into shock, has not come out of it since then.
- We spoke with Dr. Rajeshwari Devi, District Medical Officer, Wenlock Hospital. She informed us that on 19th December, 66 people were treated in the OPD of which 26 were civilians and 42 were police persons. Police continued to get treatment from the OPD till the 22nd of December. Apparently there were conscious attempts on the part of the police to make it appear that the number of policemen injured by the alleged stone pelting by the mob outnumbered civilians who suffered injuries from violence by police. The cases of police treated in Wenlock were mostly related to bruises, lacerations, contusions and swelling. There were 2 cases of bullet injuries in which one of the victims admitted took discharge immediately. There several instances of victims who we met who have not gone to Wenlock or other big hospitals for fear of being falsely implicated by the police. Most of the FIRs are open FIRs which serve as a constant threat.
- On December 20th curfew was lifted for 2 hours between 12.00 pm – 2.00 pm. People came for Namaz at this time and were again beaten by the police when they came out of the masjid. On being asked why they were being beaten, the police apparently said that they did not know that curfew had been lifted.
- As reported above the police have targeted shops and street stalls owned by people from the Muslim community. While in other parts of Karnataka protestors defying the Section 144 order were arrested, in Mangaluru the police resorted to brutal violence to deal with the protestors. Some open FIRs mention the accused as ‘Unknown Muslim Youth’. The attack on the masjid and people coming out of the masjid, that all who were admitted either for bullet/shell injuries and severe injuries due to lathi charge even on those alighting from buses, were all Muslim indicates that the police force has been communalized.
- Within 2 days of the incidents, all the CCTV DVRs have been taken away by the police. Based on the criticism that the police have already faced, it is alleged that this was done in an attempt by the police to cover their tracks. Similarly, on the matter of the internet ban, it appears that it was done only to prevent videos about the police violence from being circulated.
1. Order a judicial enquiry into the events of 19th December and the subsequent developments thereof, including the police barging into Highland Hospital.
2. To assuage the feeling of deep hurt that has been caused on account of fabricated open FIRs being lodged in various police stations, it is just and necessary that the said FIRs ought to be closed and release all the 25 persons who have been arrested on the basis of these FIRs.
3. Similarly, the FIRs that have been lodged against various predominantly Muslim persons for having exposed the correct situation in Mangalore must also be closed.
4. Immediately suspend Dr. P.S. Harsha, Commissioner of Police, Mangaluru, for dereliction of duty in handling the situation leading to deaths, police excesses, false cases.
5. Immediately suspend Shantaram Kunder, Inspector, Kadri Police Station, for the undisputed statement made by him captured on video.
6. Order ex-gratia compensation of Ten Lakh Rupees to the families of each of the deceased victims.
7. State Government shall bear the expenses of all the injured victims, including the three patients in Highland Hospital whose condition seriously deteriorated on account of the tear gas fired by the police.
Police action premeditated, Muslims targeted: Interim report on Mangaluru firing. Findings contradict the police version on what forced them to open fire on protestors that killed two in Dec 2019.
MANGALURU: 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 sand bags 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 private hospital, Rajendra said hospitals are not targetted even during wars
2) The Hindu
PUCL-led panel seeks judicial probe into police firing
A fact-finding committee, led by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), here on Thursday urged the State government to conduct a judicial inquiry into the violence and police firing in the city on December 19.
Addressing presspersons here after releasing its interim report on the violence, Y.S. Rajendra, State president of PUCL, said that police excess appears while handling the incident on that day.
It appeared that the police target a section of society, he alleged.
Mr. Rajendra said that there were several doubts over police firing and police barging into the Highland hospital in the city. Only the judicial inquiry can bring out the truth.
He said that the committee visited and spoke to the doctors and the injured at Government Wenlock, Highland, and Unity Hospitals.
Its members have also visited the places of violence. The final report will be released next week, he said.
Mr. Rajendra alleged that police have registered an FIR targeting a section of society and they are false. The government should withdraw them.
The PUCL demanded that Police Commissioner P.S. Harsha and Police Inspector Shantarama Kunder, who was seen allegedly making a controversial remark in a video which went viral, should be suspended for the police firing. The government should release the compensation of ₹10 lakh each to the families to two persons who died in police firing. The government should also bear the treatment cost of the injured, he added.
3) Mangalore Today
Students, daily wagers injured in ‘Mangaluru firing’
Mangaluru, Jan 03, 2020: The lathi charge and firing by the police during the outbreak of violence on December 19, 2019 was ‘disproportionate’ and directed at creating panic, declared a self-styled fact-finding team in the city.
The team comprises members from the All India People’s Forum (AIPF), the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO).
A final report by the team will be submitted to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the chief justice of India through a district legal services authority, PUCL Karnataka President Y J Rajendra Prasad said on Thursday.
“The findings of the team are based on field visits, interactions with eyewitnesses, people being treated in hospitals, family members of people who died in the firing and the video footage. The team members also spoke to the officials,” he clarified.
“The district surgeon has said that 66 people were being treated at the district hospital for bruises and other injuries. There were 42 police personnel were among the injured. Most them had minor injuries,” Prasad added.
He stated that the team had found that the people injured in the lathi charge and police firing were not protesters but students and daily wage workers.
Swathi Sheshadri of the AIPF said that the police had used a ‘disproportionate’ amount of violence. The conversation between Inspector Shantaram Kunder and other police officials exposes the mentality of the police, she added.
The FIR, which has mentioned the accused as ‘unknown Muslims’, shows that the police were biased, she insisted.
The team has urged the government to initiate a judicial inquiry into the police firing.
“The 25 arrested youth should be released and the FIR should be withdrawn.
The team has also urged the government to take action against Mangaluru Commissioner of Police Dr P S Harsha and Inspector Kunder.
The families of the two deceased should be provided with an ex gratia not exceeding Rs 10 lakh each,” they have demanded.
4) The News Minute
Mangaluru police action excessive, targeted Muslims: Fact-finding report on Dec 19 events
In the report, the activists called for a judicial inquiry to be conducted into the police firing and the police action at Highland Hospital, where the victims of the firing were taken to.
Prajwal Bhat Friday, January 03, 2020 – 13:28
An interim fact-finding report on the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest and subsequent police firing in Mangaluru on December 19 found that police action “was excessive, biased and specifically targeted the Muslim community.”
The report was compiled by a group of human rights and civil liberty activists from Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and New Delhi belonging to the All India People’s Forum (AIPF), People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO).
In the report, the activists called for a judicial inquiry to be conducted into the police firing and the police action at Highland Hospital, where the victims of the firing were taken to. They also called for the suspension of Mangaluru Police Commissioner PS Harsha and urged the state government to provide compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the victims’ families.
The report recounted the sequence of events that led to the police opening fire on protesters in Mangaluru on December 19. An initial protest outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office was quelled by tear gas and lathicharge by the police since protesters had defied prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC.
However, the fact-finding team alleged that the police infuriated the Muslim community by selectively targeting shops and mosques. “At around 4 pm, a team of police attacked Ibrahim Khaleel mosque where about 80 persons were praying peacefully. The police apparently sought to chase certain youth into the said mosque and then initiated an indiscriminate attack upon the mosque. The police launched an attack of stones and teargas through and above the slats of the mosque gate, causing havoc and confusion,” alleges the report.
The Ibrahim Khaleel mosque is located on Nellikai Road, which is 450 metres away from the Mangaluru North (Bunder) police station where the police personnel opened fire on protesters.
The report goes on to add that “the police began indiscriminate firing of guns and teargas” on Azizuddin Road outside the Mangaluru North (Bunder) Police Station at 4:30 pm. Two people were killed due to the police firing. Abdul Jaleel, 42 and Nausheen, 23, were shot in the eye and midriff respectively.
The victims were daily-wage labourers working in Mangaluru. Their families were denied compensation of Rs 10 lakh which was initially announced by the state government. An FIR registered at the Mangaluru North (Bunder) police station accuses them of rioting.
The fact-finding team also raised questions over the police action at Highland Hospital, where the victims of the police firing were taken to. “After Jaleel and Nausheen were declared dead on arrival at Highland Hospital, the police was called so that the bodies could be handed over to them as these were Medico Legal Cases (MLC). The police upon arrival at the hospital were faced by an angry group of mourners, who pelted stones at the police outside the hospital. The police engaged in lathicharge outside the hospital,” read the report.
“They did not stop there. The police then fired tear gas within the hospital compound and proceeded to storm the hospital. They tried to barge into patient rooms including the ICU. At least three patients who were admitted there prior to December 19th were adversely affected due to this. The health of two patients who were admitted with respiratory issues deteriorated and had to be shifted to the ICU and one of them was put on a ventilator,” the report added.
The team spoke to the families of the victims of police firing, shopkeepers near the State Bank of India and other areas in Bunder, officials at the Ibrahim Khaleel mosque, met the administration of Highland Hospital, District Medical Officer, of Wenlock Hospital Dr Rajeshwari Devi, Assistant Commissioner Madan Mohan, and Commissioner of Police PS Harsha.
Following the violent incidents, a curfew was imposed in Dakshina Kannada district for three days while mobile internet services were suspended in the district for two days. Police officials in Mangaluru attempted to justify their actions by posting videos of protesters pelting stones on December 19 in different parts of Mangaluru. However, other videos have emerged showing police firing at protesters from a distance and discussing why “no one has fallen dead”.
8) Two Circles:-
11) Daily Hunt:-
12) Kannada Varthabharati:-