Congress cries foul over UP police’s arrest of minority cell head in connection with CAA violence


The Congress cried foul after the Lucknow police late on Monday arrested its Uttar Pradesh minority cell chairperson Shahnawaz Alam in connection with the violence that took place during the protest on December 19, 2019, against the Citizenship Amendment Act in the state capital.

Mr. Alam, 37, along with two-three other Congress members, was picked up from an apartment near Kalidas Marg, where Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath resides, a little after 8 p.m., as per CCTV footage shared by the party.

After Mr. Alam was driven away in a jeep by policemen in plain clothes, Congress UP president Ajay Kumar Lallu and other leaders of the party entered into a heated debated with police at the Hazratganj police station demanding to know his whereabouts and the charges against him.

The police used batons and forced the Congress workers, who had gathered in the compounds of the police station and were raising slogans for the release of Mr. Alam, to disperse.

DCP Central Lucknow police Dinesh Singh later said Mr. Alam was arrested in connection with the FIR lodged at Hazratganj on December 19.

“His name had come to light [in the case] earlier. The process of evidence gathering was on. And after gathering sufficient evidence, we have arrested him, “ said the officer.

According to the FIR lodged at Hazratganj police station on December 19, the accused face several serious charges like rioting, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy. Mr. Alam’s arrest comes even as the police recently filed the chargesheet in the case.

Mr. Lallu lashed out at the police for the manner in which Mr. Alam was arrested by police in civil dress in the night and the use of lathi charge on the Congress workers afterwards. “This is the brave police of UP. They have forgotten their oath under the pressure of their political masters,” said Mr. Lallu.

One Congress worker suffered a fracture to his hand in the lathi-charge while others were injured, Mr. Lallu said.

Mr. Alam was picked up in a “dubious manner,” alleged Mr. Lallu. “The government is rattled, the Chief Minister is acting like a coward,” said Mr. Lallu, an MLA from Kushinagar, in a tweet.

The Lucknow police had previously arrested another Congress member Sadaf Jafar in connection with the violence but later released her on bail.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the police action was oppressive and undemocratic.  “BJP government can make UP police a weapon of oppression to stop other parties from raising their voice, but not our party,” Ms. Vadra tweeted.

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