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UP police admit to firing at anti-CAA protesters

Source: PTI
December 24, 2019 23:44 IST
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The district police in Bijnor said on Tuesday that a youth died when they fired in self-defence last week, contradicting an earlier claim by the state director general of police that no one was killed in police firing during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Kanpur police made a similar admission, saying they opened fire in the air but nobody was injured.

Bijnor's Superintendent of Police (Rural) Vishwajeet Srivastava on Tuesday said a 22-year-old man was killed when a policeman opened fire while facing a violent mob in Nahtaur area.

"On December 20, after Friday prayers, a violent mob attacked a police station and snatched the pistol of sub-inspector Ashish Tomar," he said. A constable was fired at when he tried to get it back.

"When the constable opened fire in self-defence, it hit 'upadravi' (troublemaker) Suleiman and he died," the SP added.

On Sunday, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had visited Suleiman's family in Bijnor.

Suleiman's mother "told me with tear-filled eyes" that her son has been "martyred" for the country, according to the Congress leader.

 

The youth's family said he had been preparing for the civil services entrance exam and claimed he had nothing to do with the protests.

Another man, Anis, died in firing from the mob in the district, the SP said.

Bijnor Superintendent of Police Sanjiv Tyagi said police used minimum force against the protesters.

"They put children in the front and resorted to slogan shouting, stone pelting and arson," he said.

Meanwhile, Kanpur‘s Senior SP Anant Deo Tiwari admitted that some policemen had loaded their weapons and opened fire, as shown in video clips on news channels and social media.

He said the firing was in self-defence.

"They fired four rounds but it was in the air," Tiwari said, claiming that nobody was injured.

Asked specifically if the death of a person in Kanpur was due to a police bullet, he said, "Forensic examination will establish it."

Earlier, a video grab surfaced showing a police sub-inspector purportedly loading his pistol, amid the sound of gunfire. The video appeared to be from Yateemkhana area in Kanpur.

This is for the first time that the state police have accepted that they have opened fire during the violent protests in the state. At least 17 people have been reported killed.

Director General of Police O P Singh has said no one was killed in police firing in the state and blamed the deaths mostly on "cross-firing".

Police had said only protesters used firearms in the violence last Thursday, and then after the Friday prayers. They said 288 policemen have been injured across the state, including 62 who suffered firearm injuries.

Police claimed over 700 live and empty cartridges were seized.

Another video, purportedly related to the violence earlier at Aligarh Muslim University, shows students pushing at the campus gate.

The protesters are apparently trying to get out as police try to confine them to the campus.

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