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Karnataka Govt Withdraws Compensation To Kin Of Mangaluru Police Firing Victims, Calls Them ‘Criminals’

Photo: PTI

After killing two people in police firing, the Karnataka BJP government has withdrawn the Rs 10 lakh compensation it had earlier announced to the families of the victims, terming them as ‘criminals’.

Jaleel Kudroli (49) and Nausheen Bengre (23) were killed in police firing, on December 19, in the violence that ensued after the BJP government clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 in Mangaluru and other parts of the state to stop people from protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the draconian NRC. The Karnataka High Court later slammed the government for imposing such an order and asked if it intends to ban each and every protest.

“We have not decided yet to give the ex-gratia to the family members of those killed in the police firing because giving criminals ex-gratia is an unpardonable crime in itself. Earlier, the government had decided to give them compensation, but now we have withdrawn it,” Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said.

Terming the violent protest in Mangaluru as a ‘meticulous conspiracy’, Yediyurappa said he has directed the police to identify the protestors who rioted, bookcases against them and initiate stringent action.

The government would ascertain the background of those involved in arson and violence and arrest all those involved in the crime, he added.

Anti Citizenship Act (CAA) demonstrators across India are carrying out peaceful protests as anger swells against the highly sectarian and anti-Constitutional law.

On December 19, over 6,000 people gathered at various parts of Mangaluru defying prohibitory orders to protest against CAA. Videos from the violence-affected area show police personnel firing at the protestors and using tear gas and brute force to disperse the crowd.

The police opened fire on protestors near Bunder area of Mangaluru killing Jaleel and Nausheen. Both the victims were rushed to the city’s Highland Hospital but were declared brought dead. On hearing of the death of them, people started gathering outside Hospital and a confrontation ensued between protesters and the police.

Videos from CCTV cameras show policemen running through a corridor and attempting to kick open a door and using lathis and shields to push people at the other side away. Local reports claim hospital staff were also beaten by the police.

Another video from Highland Hospital showed policemen running after people in the hospital’s lobby. Some people reportedly rushed to the ICU of Highland Hospital after the police fired teargas. Teargas was used at the hospital’s parking lot and lobby.

Despite widespread protests across the state, the Karnataka government has maintained that it will implement NRC in the state and has even opened the state’s first-ever detention centre in Sondekoppa village near Bengaluru.

According to the Citizenship Amendment Act, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship. The Act intentionally leaves out Muslims.

The BJP-led government has said the new law will be followed by a National Register of Citizens (NRC) that means Muslims must prove they were original residents of India and not refugees from these three countries. Non-Muslims listed in the law, by contrast, have a clear path to citizenship.

The religiously discriminatory mechanisms of the Act shares worrying similarities with the rhetoric and policies of the Nazi German state between 1929-1940.

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