State Violence is not the Answer: NCHRO condemns excessive force against CAA and NRC protests.
NCHRO condemns the excessive use of force against the ongoing protests demanding the repeal of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and suspension of National Register of Citizens (NRC). At least 18 people are reported to have been killed in various parts of the country and scores of people injured. In BJP- ruled UP women and children have been targeted by the police.
The police have tried to suppress the right to peaceful assembly by using excessive force against people exercising their rights, including beating peaceful protesters and using tear gas, and reckless shooting. Detained protesters including children have also been severely beaten in custody and suffered other ill-treatment amounting to torture. Multiple instances of arbitrary and unlawful arrests have been reported. The police is alleged to have denied or delayed access to lawyers and medical care to the detainees.
Detention of Former IPS officer SR Dharapuri, Adv.Mohammed Shoeb, and scores other activists in Uttar Pradesh is a blatant violation of the freedom of expression. Those detained solely for exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and free expression should be unconditionally released and charges against them should be immediately dropped.
Many video feeds from people in the protest showed cruel assault on unarmed people: police beating people with lathis, burning vehicles, destroying properties and being reckless with assault rifles. Footage and photos published by the media and uploads to social networks appear to show many instances of manifestly disproportionate use of force against people assembled peacefully to protest.
State uses violence when it is not sure of its steps. Stories of police harassment and violence in vulnerable communities have become common. Authorities must establish an independent commission of inquiry into excessive use of police force, bringing to justice any law enforcement official responsible for unlawful use of force. Any response to allegations of violent attacks on police must also be handled through a fair judicial process.
NCHRO demands a prompt and independent investigation into the violations, which appear to have escalated in severity since the mass protests erupted across the country.