Lucknow: The UP government seems to be losing the plot, given its ham-handed policing of the protestors.
Its approach has been, at best, confrontationist and veered from the ridiculous to the ludicrous, as was the case on Saturday night when men in khaki allegedly confiscated the blankets and food packets that the protestors had kept aside for a night haul at Lucknow’s Ghantaghar Chowk.
With wanton disregard for the freezing cold, not only were the blankets seized but the police also had the audacity to claim that it was done after adhering to due process.
But no such ‘due process’ was in evidence in visuals captured on mobile phones, which showed the police snatching the blankets and food packets with great insensitivity and scant regard for human dignity.
The cops – in their riot gear and helmets – were seen taking away even the sheets meant to be spread on the ground for those who wanted to squat overnight.
The sorry spectacle took place at Lucknow’s iconic clock tower where around 500 women and children, who started their peaceful protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act on Friday night, have converged and are refusing to budge.
They continued their stir on Sunday despite the high-handed tactics of the police and the city administration to hustle them out of the venue. Even street lights were switched off and the area was watered to deter them from squatting in the area in the freezing cold in the dead of the night. The episode unfolded soon after the rapid action force was deployed.
Inspired by Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh protests, the women continued to chant the national anthem and raised the national flag, cocking a snook at the authorities.
“We will not end our protest until this “religion-based law” is not repealed,” said Pooja Shukla, one of the participants who is also a member of the Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha.
Interestingly, all day, “Kambal chor UP Police” was trending on twitter. Finally, emanated from the UP police a tepid clarification that the blankets were seized “legally”. Whatever that means!
A 27-second video clip on social media purportedly shows a policeman carrying blankets and sheets in a plastic bag. A woman can be seen in the video shouting at him and calling him "thief", but the police personnel does not respond.