Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
“My daughter died on 20 December 2019. Would I have gone to the protest site or been here at home for my daughter's funeral?”
“I spent 70 days in jail, despite being innocent. I had done no wrong. My only fault was – I am a Muslim.”
It has been a little over a year since the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) was passed. A year since the nationwide anti-CAA protests, The Quint's Shadab Moizee travelled to Uttar Pradesh's Firozabad that witnessed anti-CAA and anti-NRC agitation too.
A year later, common people are still bearing the brunt of these protests. In Firozabad, residents still live in fear.
The Quint spoke to two men who allege that they were wrongly jailed for rioting – a charge that the Firozabad Police have denied.
'My Daughter Died on 20 December, Would I have Gone to Protest That Day?'
Mohsin, 37, was arrested by the Firozabad police eight months after anti-CAA protests in the city turned violent, on 20 December 2019. He was accused of being present during the riots. He spent more than four months in jail before being released on bail. He claims he is innocent.
Mohsin broke done while narrating to The Quint how he was accused of rioting on the day his daughter died and how, on that fateful day, he was at home preparing for his daughter’s last journey.
“I was accused of rioting. My daughter passed away on 20 December 2019. Would I have gone to the protest site after my daughter’s death? I was very upset... didn’t know what to do. My family was at the graveyard. Eight months later, they arrested me for rioting. I was in jail for four months and five days, despite being innocent. Only I know and my Allah knows how I spent my days in jail.”Mohsin, Firozabad Resident Jailed for anti-CAA protests
'Police Took Our Details With Assurance of Giving Us Work, Then Arrested my Son'
Mohsin’s mother Asgari told The Quint that the Firozabad police took her son’s address, mobile phone and other details with a promise of giving him work and then arrested Mohsin on charges of rioting in the city on 20 December 2019.
“My sons operate swings and rides for children. Policemen came and inquired about the swings. They said they wanted the swings and rides for some event. I agreed. They took our phone numbers and details. I told them to let us know where and when they would need the swings... we’ll make arrangements. Policemen took our details with the assurance of giving us work and then arrested my son.”Asgari, Mohsin’s Mother
'Mohsin Charged Under Multiple Sections'
Mohsin’s lawyer Sageer Khan told The Quint how Mohsin had two FIRs filed against him in two different police stations on the same day and how he was charged under multiple sections.
“The police have been arresting innocent youth in Firozabad. I had to presented this receipt from the graveyard in one of the hearings. That’s what helped him get bail. Look at the charges against him. Two FIRs were filed against him in two police stations. Mohsin was charged under 14 sections in one FIR and 19 sections in the other.”Sageer Khan, Mohsin’s Lawyer
'Spent 70 Days in Jail Despite Being Innocent; My Only Fault – I am a Muslim'
Mohsin is not alone. Residents of Firozabad claim the police continue to arrest several innocent people on charges of rioting in the city. 26-year-old Adnan was also jailed for being present during the anti-CAA protests that turned violent on 20 December 2019.
He was arrested six months later, Adnan claims he had to spend 70 days in jail despite being innocent. He told The Quint that he was called to the police station and then arrested.
“There were protests on 20 December 2019, 5-6 kilometres away from my house. I was at home that day. Six months later, on 13 June 2020, the police arrested me. I was asked to go (to the police station) with my Aadhaar card. If I was guilty, then my photo would also be on the posters (that would be put up by the police everywhere). If I was guilty, I wouldn’t have gone to the police station. They showed me four photos of people who were present at the protest site and said that I was one of them. I was charged under 14 to 15 sections. I am going to be stuck in courts and trials for the rest of my life.”Adnan, Firozabad Resident Jailed for anti-CAA protests
'The Evidence Against Adnan is Not Authentic'
Adnan’s lawyer Arvind Agarwal told The Quint that when they police arrested him, they did not have proper evidence against him, they still don’t and that the evidence that the police presented in court is not authentic. “They added some people's names later to target a specific community,” said Agarwal.
“In the FIR, there was one named accused and around 250 unnamed accused. The FIR said that these accused had participated in the riots. Six months later, some people were named based on photos of those who were allegedly present during the riots. The police identified one person as Adnan. The police did not have proper evidence against him. The photo, on the basis of which they arrested Adnan, is not authentic evidence. They added some people’s names later to target a specific community. They mentioned 250 unnamed accused in the FIR, and now they are adding names as per their wish.”Arvind Agarwal, Adnan’s Lawyer
'The Charges Against Us Are False, We Took Six Months to Identify the Accused': Police
A police officer investigating the case told The Quint that the charges against the police are false. “We took six months to identify the accused. We traced their activities on 20 December 2019 and clicked photos of those who were at the protest site. We have proceeded with investigations against those who were clicked during the riots and had stones or weapons in their hands. We have identified 100-150 of them so far.”
Some people had shared a clip from the full video on Twitter, on the basis of which the Firozabad Police has tweeted:
“An SIT has been formed to probe the matter. The investigation is being done under the supervision of an ASP rank officer and other senior officers. Action will be taken on the basis of concrete evidence found in the investigation. There is no scope for any error. Still, if anyone has a complaint, they are free to meet with the Firozabad SP in that regard. Avoid spreading rumors or resorting to baseless arguments, otherwise you will be liable for legal action.”