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The Karnataka High Court on Monday granted bail to 21 persons in Mangalore jailed for offences allegedly committed during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). [Ashik & Ors. v. State of Karnataka]
While doing so, the Court observed that there was a deliberate attempt on the part of the Mangalore police to cover up excesses committed against anti-CAA protestors.
The order passed by Justice John Michael Cunha states,
“…a deliberate attempt is underway to cover up police excesses by implicating innocent persons at the whims and caprice of the police. Overzealousness of the police is also evident from the fact that the FIRs are registered under section 307 IPC against the persons killed by the police themselves.”
Karnataka High Court
The petitioners were arrested and remanded to judicial custody for allegedly obstructing the police and causing destruction to public property, in violation of the prohibitory order passed under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Section 144 order was passed for over 24 hours in Mangalore, in the wake of protests against the CAA.
It was alleged that they were part of an unlawful assembly of 1500-2000 Muslim youth who conspired to set fire to a police station and cause destruction to public property.
A whole host of charges were levelled against the petitioners, including those under Section 307 (attempt to murder), Section 143 (unlawful assembly) and Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).