Mangaluru firing: High Court slams police for 'deliberate attempt to cover up excesses'

Mangaluru firing: High Court slams police for 'deliberate attempt to cover up excesses'
Police personnel fire tear gas shells during their clash with the protestors participating in a rally against the amended Citizenship Act and NRC, in Mangaluru, last week. Photo: PTI

Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court has come down heavily on Mangaluru Police for deliberately trying to cover up the excesses it committed during the protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in December.

The Hindu reported on Wednesday that records indicated that a deliberate attempt had been made to fabricate evidence and to deprive the petitioners of their liberties.

Later, the court granted bail to 21 people arrested in connection with the violence. “There is no direct evidence to connect the petitioners with the alleged offences. The investigation appears to be mala fide and partisan,” the court noted.

Two persons were shot dead in police firing and a third suffered bullet injuries during the protests on December 19.

The police had even registered first information reports under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code against the two people killed in police firing.

Slamming the police for naming the two dead in the FIR, Justice John Michael Cunha observed that it showed the overzealousness of the police.

The New Indian Express reported that in an offence involving a large number of people, the identity and participation of each accused must be fixed with reasonable certainty. “In the present cases, the identity appears to have been fixed on the basis of their affiliation to the Popular Front of India (PFI) and they being members of the Muslim community,” the report said.

The court's observations came almost a month after the People’s Tribunal, organised by Bengaluru-based Listening Post to report on the police firings, stated that civilians who had no connection with the protest were subjected to indiscriminate lathi charge and police firing in Mangaluru on December 19.

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