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Act against cops involved in vandalism; compensate injured AMU student protesters

Act against cops involved in vandalism; compensate injured AMU student protesters

New Delhi: The Allahabad High Court on Monday ordered the Director-General of Police of Uttar Pradesh to identify and take action against policemen who were involved in "stray incidents of damaging motorcycles and unnecessarily caning the apprehended students" of the Aligarh Muslim University during the spate of anti-CAA protests that erupted in the state last December. The court also ordered the UP government to compensate for injuries sustained by six student protesters.

The order passed by a division bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Samit Goel came on the basis of a recommendation made by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which was directed by the High Court last month to probe allegations of police violence and complete the investigation in five weeks. The court had asked NHRC to probe the allegations while hearing a PIL filed by Mohd Aman Khan.

Khan had alleged that the students were protesting peacefully against the Citizenship Amendment Act since December 13, 2019. However, on December 15, 2019, the Para Military Force and the State Police, for no just and valid reasons, lathicharged protesters with massive amount of tear gas shell firing, firing of Rubber Bullets and Pellets on the students of AMU. The investigation was conducted by a six-member team of the NHRC, which recommended that action must be taken against the delinquent policemen in accordance with the law apart from compensating the injured students.

The NHRC report on the investigation was submitted in court with the following recommendations, which included directing the Chief Secretary Govt. of Uttar Pradesh to provide suitable compensation to the six students who have been grievously injured.

Other recommendations included action against police involved in violence and destruction of property and sensitising police personnel to inculcate professionalism in handling such situations.

The NHRC also recommended similar directions to chiefs of CRPF and RAF in addition to suggesting that an SIT be set up to "investigate all the related cases on merits and in a time-bound manner". Interestingly, the recommendations also included directions to the AMU administration that they not be influenced by outside information and set up a robust communication system with students.

The court asked all public authorities pulled up by the NHRC to adhere to the human rights body's recommendation and directed that a compliance report be filed before them on March 25 when the matter will be taken up again.

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