UP CM's nod to tribunals to recover damages for property destruction during anti-CAA protests

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has approved the setting up of tribunals in Meerut and Lucknow to recover losses worth crores of rupees due to destruction of property in the state during the anti-CAA protests last year.
UP CM's nod to tribunals to recover damages for property destruction during anti-CAA protests

Lucknow

The Lucknow property damage tribunal will accept claim applications from Jhansi, Kanpur, Chitrakoot Dham, Lucknow, Ayodhya, Devi Patan Prayagraj, Azamgarh, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Basti and Vindhyachal Dham divisions. The Meerut tribunal will have jurisdiction over Saharanpur, Meerut, Aligarh, Moradabad, Bareilly and Agra divisions, the spokesperson said on Monday. The state government had promulgated an ordinance -- the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Ordinance, 2020 -- for the recovery of damages for destruction of property during arson and vandalism from participants of the anti-CAA protests. The legislation provided for setting up of tribunals to adjudicate the claims of damage.
The Lucknow district administration had last month attached in Hazratganj area the movable property of two men accused of vandalism during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December last year. Lucknow District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash had said the movable assets of Maahenoor Choudhary and Dharamveer Singh, who are accused of damaging property during the anti-CAA protests, would be auctioned to recover the damages.
The protests against the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) had turned violent in the city on December 19, 2019. The district administration assessed losses worth crores of rupees to public property in the arson and violence. The administration had sent recovery notices worth about Rs 1.55 crore to over 50 people for the damages allegedly done by them during the protests.
In March, the district administration had displayed on hoardings the photographs and addresses of the protesters, including Congress leader Sadaf Jafar, retired IPS SR Darapuri and activist Mohammad Shoaib, to name and shame them. After the spread of coronavirus and a suggestion from the Allahabad High Court, the Lucknow administration had on March 20 stopped all coercive action such as the attachment of property and arrest of protesters to recover the damages.
However, with the easing of the coronavirus lockdown, the district administration started attaching the immovable assets of those accused of vandalizing public property during the protests. FIRs were registered in four police stations in the state capital and notices were served to 54 people for recovery of damages.
In Khadra area, 13 protesters were identified and the loss of property was estimated to be ₹21.76 lakh, while in Parivartan Chowk, 24 people were identified and the loss was estimated to be ₹ 69.65 lakh. Ten people were identified in Thakurganj area and the loss was estimated around ₹47.85 lakh. In Kaiserbagh, six protesters were identified and the loss of property was ₹1.75 lakh. The amended Citizenship Act envisages giving Indian nationality to members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there. It had garnered criticism over the exclusion of Muslims from the list.

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