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Opposition claims NSA threat against jailed leaders in Varanasi

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 26, 2019 Published on December 26, 2019

Leaders from Left parties and the RJD are in jail after they held a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

The Opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh claimed that the State Police has informed them that 56 of their leaders, who are in a Varanasi jail now, are likely to be booked under the National Security Act (NSA). The police, however, has denied this.

The local leaders —including the district secretaries of CPI(M), CPI, CPI (ML) and RJD — are in jail after they held a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Varanasi on December 19. Varanasi is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency.

Protests against CAA

CPI(M) leader Hira Lal Yadav told BusinessLine that the district police authorities have informed them that NSA is likely to be imposed against the leaders.

“Leaders of the Left and RJD such as Nandlal Patel, Jaishankar Singh, Manish Sharma and Surendra Yadav are in jail now. The SP and the District Collector told us that NSA will be imposed on them. They said they want to teach these Opposition leaders a lesson. Holding a protest breaching Section 144 is the only crime they did. The Police and the administration are implementing orders from above,” Yadav said.

He said representatives of all political parties, except the BJP, have questioned this step.

“Already, they have imposed non-bailable offences against these senior leaders. Now, they threaten that NSA too will be imposed for holding a protest,” Yadav added.

Varanasi SSP Prabhakar Chaudhary there was no proposal to impose NSA on anyone.

“They are spreading rumours. We have no such plans. But we have got strong evidences to prove our case that these people had plans to disrupt law and order in Varanasi. They assembled despite directions from us,” he said.

Condemning the arrests, CPI(M) Polit Bureau said in a statement here on Thursday that the BJP-led State governments are engaging in brutal suppression of peaceful protests. The statement said the death toll in Uttar Pradesh has now reached 18 and the count is still mounting. With the courts going on vacation, the party said, any possibilities of legal remedies for the arrested leaders are foreclosed till January 2020.

“The right to peaceful assembly and protest is guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. This right is being mercilessly assaulted by the BJP today. Such authoritarian atrocities will not be tolerated by the Indian people. The Indian people had once fought against the authoritarian assaults and restored democracy in the 1970s. This shall be done once again through peaceful protests,” the statement added.

Published on December 26, 2019
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