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Cong takes legal route in UP, to assist people booked for anti-CAA protest

The grand old party, which has been opposing the Centre’s plan to implement CAA, has demanded a probe by an independent commission under a retired High Court judge into the cases filed against ‘peaceful protesters’

New Delhi: Putting the act of Uttar Pradesh police against the "peaceful protesters" during the violence over protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Uttar Pradesh under scanner, the Congress has decided to provide legal assistance to persons booked by the cops under different sections for participating in peaceful protests against CAA.

The grand old party, which has been opposing the Centre's plan to implement CAA, has on Monday demanded a probe by an independent commission under a retired High Court judge into the cases filed against "peaceful protesters".

The party also demanded that bail be granted to all those "who have been wrongly charged and were not engaged in any unlawful or illegal act."

Hitting out at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the police over the crackdown on anti-CAA protesters, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi said that there was no place for violence or "revenge" in the country.

In a jibe at the chief minister days after he had said that those who had damaged public assets would be made to pay, the Congress general secretary said saffron denotes Hinduism, a religion that does not advocate violence or "revenge".

As she concluded her four-day visit to Lucknow days after statewide violent clashes over the CAA, the Congress leader told reporters that her own security was not a big issue.

"The public is bothered about what is happening in the state today. There is anarchy; no one has job; there is unemployment; and the women are feeling insecure. There are so many bigger issues, but you are raising trivial issues," she said.

Earlier, a Congress delegation led by state president Ajay Kumar Lallu and senior leaders submitted a memorandum of demands to Governor Anandiben Patel. The signatory of the memorandum was Lallu and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The Congress urged that the notices for confiscation and sealing of property, and other similar 'punitive actions' be suspended till due process could be established and an appropriate enquiry by competent authorities was completed. "Further, that any punitive action taken thereafter be legally endorsed by a concerned judicial authority to be appointed by the Supreme Court of India," the memorandum said. The Congress sought the issuance of immediate orders for "exercising restraint" by the Home Department and Director General of Police to "ensure the cessation of such violent, unlawful and criminal acts by the UP Government and Police."

Students participating in peaceful protests should also be assured that they would not face academic or legal repercussions and their fundamental right to free expression as enshrined in the Constitution would be protected and upheld by law and state, the memorandum said.

Earlier in the day, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) said in a statement in New Delhi that there was no breach in the Congress leader's security during her visit to Lucknow and blamed her for "violations" for riding pillion on a scooter.

The force, which provides armed commandos under the Z plus security cover to her, said the Congress leader undertook an "unscheduled movement without intimation.

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