The Mangaluru City Police confirmed that 12 people were arrested for their role in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the city on December 19. During the protests, police firing killed two people prompting a curfew and a shutdown of mobile internet services for 48 hours in the Dakshina Kannada district.
Ten days after the incident, the identities of 12 people who were arrested have come to light. All 12 people arrested are Muslim men from Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts, and are aged between 20 and 32.
Mohammed Azhar (22) from Manjanade, Thanjil (20) from Thokottu, Aryan (30) from BC Road, Naajim (24) from Bantwal, Ashiq (21) from Shirva, Anwar Hussain (23) from Bajpe, Mohammed Iqbal (27) and Mohammed Farooq (32) from Adyar, Abdul Hafeez (20) from Panjimogaru, Mohammed Fayaz (27) and Khalandar Bhasha (30) from Kaavoor, and Nasseruddin (32) from Kunjathbail, were arrested on various charges that include rioting, grievously hurting a civil servant and attempt to murder.
Ten arrested people are from suburban areas in Mangaluru. Naajim is from Bantwal in Dakshina Kannada district and Ashiq is from Shirva in Udupi district. They were booked in Mangaluru North (Bunder) and Mangaluru South (Pandeshwar) police stations in the city for allegedly taking part in violent protests. The Mangaluru City Police has said that more arrests will be made based on the evidence collected from the protests.
The pattern of the arrests so far contradicts claims that people from Kerala instigated the violence in Mangaluru. Earlier, Udupi-Chikkamagaluru MP Shoba Karandlaje, speaking at a press conference at the Circuit House in Mangaluru, on December 21 said that people from Kerala had instigated the violent protests in Mangaluru. “For the first time in Mangaluru, either students or youths from Kerala have caused violence by covering their faces. Locals here are saying youths from Kerala had come to protest. Popular Front of India (PFI) and Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) activists wanted to do this (protests) in Mangaluru. We have to find out who came from outside and instigated violence here,” she said.
TNM spoke to family members of some of the people arrested by the police who said that the police targeted and arrested innocent people found in and around Bunder, the site of the police firing, on December 19.
“My son had gone to shop for a festival. He had made purchases in shops near Bunder to decorate the streets of our village for the festival. When the protests began, he lost his bag which had all the things he had bought. He was caught by the police standing on the street because he was unfamiliar with Mangaluru city,” Farooq, father of Ashiq from Shirva told TNM. Ashiq is now charged with rioting.
Similarly, Abdul Hafeez’s family maintained that he was merely waiting by his sticker shop in Bunder, which he had just closed down for the day when he was arrested.
The two victims of police shooting, Abdul Jaleel and Nausheen, too were booked for rioting at the Mangaluru North (Bunder) police station. They were named as accused number 3 and accused number 8 respectively in the FIR registered under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code. Forty three others from different parts of Mangaluru were also named in the FIR.
Police officials in Mangaluru said that Abdul Jaleel was found with a handkerchief tied to his face, a sign that he was part of violent protests. However, Abdul’s family members say that he tied a handkerchief to protect himself from tear gas and that he was looking to shift his children away from the violence when he was shot in the eye by bullets fired by the police.
“Jaleel, my uncle, was not part of the agitation and not part of any organisation. He was still targeted and killed by some police officer. We are not asking for any compensation but asking for justice to be done,” Mohammed Nazeer, Jaleel’sAbdul’s relative said.
The government had initially planned to give the families of the victim a sum of Rs 10 lakh each, as compensation to the families of the victims. However this was withdrawn pending the investigation of the case. The state government is also considering a plan to collect money from protesters to pay for the damages caused to public property.