Yogi Adityanath’s vengeful “naming and shaming” and erosion of right to privacy

The putting up of hoardings is the continuation of the violence and the fear that the UP government wants to inflict upon the people. 

Uttar Pradesh
File Photo: Yogi Adityanath

Yogi Adityanath had ordered his government to put up posters with the names, phone numbers, and addresses of Anti-CAA protesters in Lucknow. These hoardings were put up of protesters who were sent recovery notice for their alleged involvement in the violence committed during the protests. Activists Sadaf Jafar, Shia Cleric Maulana Saif Abbas, Human rights activist Mohammed Shohaib are among those who are listed in the posters. 

A bench headed by Chief Justice Govind Mathur took Suo Moto cognizance of the issue and on Monday ordered the Uttar Pradesh Government to remove these posters. They stated that they were an unwarranted interference in privacy and violated section 21 of the Constitution. The bench said that the putting up of the posters was “highly unjust” and an absolute “encroachment” of the personal liberties of the people concerned. The court stated “the cause is not about personal injury caused to the persons whose personal details are given in the banner, but the injury caused to the precious constitutional value and its shameless depiction by the administration. The cause as such is undemocratic functioning of government agencies, which are supposed to treat all members of public with respect and courtesy and at all time should behave in manner that upholds constitutional and democratic values.”  The court has directed Lucknow district magistrate and Police Commissioner to submit a report on the removal of the posters by March 16. The notices that were sent out to the ‘violent protesters’ in December included some men aged 90 years and above, and a man who had died 6 years ago. Clearly the Adityanath government was not verifying the ‘video evidence’ they had and were clearly targeting Muslims as responsible for the violence. 

The Auditor General contested the HC taking up the matter, saying that the hoardings were put up in Lucknow and thus the HC did not have jurisdiction in the matter. They also said “PILs must not be registered for those who break the law. The court responded to this by stating that where there is gross negligence on part of public authorities and the government, where the law is disobeyed and the public is put to suffering and where the precious values of the constitution are subjected to injuries, constitutional court can very well take notice of that at its own.” It added that “The courts are meant to impart justice and no court can shut its eyes if a public unjust is happening before it.”

Activists who have been named have stated that the government had no right to put up their personal details on hoardings and has put their lives in danger. Sadaf Jafar said “This order is a slap on the face of the authoritarianism being displayed by the state government. It restores my faith in the rule of law and also in the Constitution for which we are fighting. It also sets a precedent as the court has said that such actions should never been taken in the future. However, it does not make me feel safe as our faces and addresses are already in the inboxes and social media accounts of people. Some media outlets have carried clear pictures of the hoardings.”

Yogi Adityanath had said that the government would take “revenge” for the violence that took place in Lucknow in December. They sent notices to protesters and threatened them stating that their property would be seized if the damages weren’t paid. This order is clearly not legal as any seizure of property by the government can take place only after a trial and not before. The UP government is perpetrating violence, of all kinds, on its own people. 

There has been multiple video evidence of the violence being incited by the UP Police. Videos of Police destroying public property, beating up protesters, stories of children being sexually abused by police officers in madrasas have emerged and the Adityanath Government has made no effort to send notices out for these damages and is clearly steering the anti-Muslim propaganda that the RSS follows. Most of this violence has taken place in Muslim localities. Adityanath had said that there is no place for violence in a democracy and despite this statement has not been accountable on how the UP Police, which is under him, had orders to stop protests “at any cost” (as reported by BBC)

The Adityanath Government is not out to get paid for the damages caused, but to threaten and scare people from standing up to the fascist state. The entire administration, from top to bottom, has acted together to disenfranchise the rights of Muslims and anti-CAA activists. The putting up of hoardings is the continuation of the violence and the fear that the UP government wants to inflict upon the people. 

 

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