Kanpur CAA Row: As UP Cops Book 21,000, Six Lawyers Fight Pro Bono

Six lawyers from Kanpur have come together and formed a panel to protect the innocent.

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Days after violence followed anti-CAA protests in Kanpur, including neighbouring Yateemganj and Babupurwa, on 21 December, Uttar Pradesh police booked more than 21,000 people in 15 FIRs lodged at various police stations across Kanpur. Most of those booked are still unidentified.

Six lawyers from Kanpur have come together and formed a panel to protect the innocent by fighting their cases for free.

“Police has booked several on the grounds of spreading violence and destroying public property. If the police has proof that these 21,000 people have spread violence, then their detention is lawful. But what I feel is that the police is targeting a particular community or religious group and booking people and making unlawful detentions across the state.”
Nikhil Pandey, Advocate

The panel will be headed by advocate Rajesh Chaturvedi, and the other members include Nikhil Pandey, Virendra Mani Tripathi, Anuj Kumar Gupta, Ritin Sonker, Rajesh Kumar Sahu and Gaurav Dwivedi. The panel has unanimously decided to charge no fees from the people whom they feel have been wrongfully booked by the police.

“Our aim is to help release innocent people booked and detained by the police. The guilty must be punished. But our aim is to fight for innocent people who have been wrongly charged by the police. Those who are booked and need our help, we will extend help in every way possible. We will not charge any money from them. We will provide legal help free of cost.”
Viren Mani Tripathi, Advocate

Several videos had surfaced from the violence following the protests, in which policemen were seen destroying public and private property, and beating citizens mercilessly.

Prem Prakash, ADG Kanpur Zone, has admitted that there have been incidents of high-handedness from the police and that the magisterial probe has already been set up to find those who are guilty of brutality and loss of public property.

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