A group of lawyers and Congress leaders in Bantwal have approached the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission over the death of two men in a police firing in Mangaluru. Abdul Jaleel (49) and Nauseen (23) had succumbed to bullet injuries at the Highland Hospital after they were hit during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on December 19.
In a petition to the Commission’s Chairman Justice DH Vaghela, the group has sought action against Mangaluru Police Commissioner PS Harsha and other police officials for allegedly violating the directions of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and courts by shooting at the protesters. Incidentally, the CM had warned the police not to take 'law into their own hands' just hours before the police firing.
“We also humbly appeal to initiate suo motu action against the police brutality and instil confidence in the minds of the people. We, therefore, request your kind self to initiate action against Commissioner of Police, Mangalore City and his personnel for opening fire at general public without justification and to their upper body in contravention of CrPC,” a part of their petition reads. The petition also mentions alleged instances of police excesses inside the Highland Hospital, which have been captured in CCTV footage.
Admitting their plea, Justice Vaghela has called for a full bench sitting on December 31 at 3 pm.
“It is ironic that the state government has not even come forward to compensate the families of the deceased,” the petition reads.
The petitioners include Mahila Congress National Social Media Coordinator Lavanya Ballal, Bantwal town corporators Moonish Ali Ahmed and Luqman, and advocate Rakshit Shivaram.
The petitioners further allege that the police had gathered in large numbers, entered the place of protest and started lathi-charging without any warning, with an intention to disperse the crowd. During this time, several women students were allegedly severely injured in the protest. The petition claims that even a large number of people who were not protesting, but waiting for buses, were also ruthlessly beaten.
The petition alleged that the police had also selectively targeted people based on their dress and physical appearances. Several burkha-clad women and students speaking Byari, a local language spoken largely by the minority Muslim community, were allegedly attacked without any reason, the petitioners claim.
The petition also highlighted that some media persons were blocked from covering the event. “Several newspapers have carried out editorials and articles regarding the same,” the petition mentions.
The petition also spoke against the prohibitory orders, internet shutdown and curfew issued by the state government.
“In view of the curfew the normal life of citizens was disrupted and they were put to immense harm and hardship. Mangalore being city having a port and several lakhs of people are dependent on the fishing activities and they suffered huge losses.” it further said.