In India's long history of protests, UP first to make the Vandals pay the price
The attempt by the UP government to identify and make protesters pay for the damage caused to public property during recent protests against citizenship is unprecedented in a country where many states, at one time or another, have suffered destruction on the streets in the name of agitation The only other instance of strong punitive action ordered to vandalize public property is against the Dera Sacha Sauda in Punjab, although by court order.
While the jury is deciding whether the government's measure will be subject to legal scrutiny, TOI takes stock of the number of occasions in the last five years that individuals and teams appear to have come out with the destruction of public goods worth Rs. Millions during the protests
HARYANA The agitation of Jat's quota in February 2016 was destructive, resulting in 30 deaths and widespread damage to public and private property. Assocham estimated that the loss in monetary terms was Rs 1,800-2,000 crore. Around 2,100 cases were filed and hundreds were arrested. The then BJP government told the superior court in Punjab and Haryana that the cost of the damage would be recovered from the perpetrators, but it was never done.
In August 2017, vandalism returned to the state after a special CBI court convicted Dera Sacha Sauda's boss, Gurmeet Ram Rahim, in multiple cases of rape. Property worth Rs 126 crore was damaged only in Panchkula. The superior court ordered that the properties belonging to Dera Sacha Sauda be frozen until the responsibility for the losses caused during the violence was decided. The case continues.
DELHI: On August 22 of last year, thousands of Dalit Protestants led by Bhim's army chief, Chandrashekhar Azad, damaged 14 cars in Govindpuri. In November, Tis Hazari's lawyers damaged 13 police vehicles and set several bicycles on fire while confronting police officers over a parking dispute. Similar violence was reported in Saket. No one was arrested.
But after the fire caused during the protests against CAA in Jamia Nagar and Mathura Road on December 15, police approached the HC to appoint a claims commissioner who would assess the damage and establish responsibility.
GUJARAT Only three days after the quota movement in August 2015, mobs set 660 government vehicles and 1,822 public buildings on fire. A week after the riots, a PIL was presented at the HC of Gujarat, in search of an investigative commission to assess the damage. The PIL was removed two weeks later.
TO THE WEST OF BENGALA: The railroads were the most affected by vandalism and the arson that spoiled protests against citizenship law last month, losing an estimated value of Rs 80 million rupees in just four days. According to the state government, 64 FIRs were filed and 931 people arrested. You are listening to six PILs about the responsibility to repair the damage.
ODISHA The property worth Rs 20 crore was damaged after violence broke out in Puri on October 3, 2018, during a bandh convened by a team called Jagannath Sena. Subsequently, the police forced the organizations to sign a compensation bond while requesting permission to hold demonstrations.
Karnataka Around 15 vehicles, including police vans and buses, were set on fire in Bangalore in April 2016 by clothing factory workers protesting against the Center's decision to amend the Employee Pension Fund Act. On September 12 of the same year, the Cauvery riots ravaged public property, with more than 30 buses damaged. The government did not attempt to recover damages in any of these cases.
KERALA In 2018, up to 49 state buses were damaged in the Pathanamthitta district and several more in other districts during protests that greeted the Supreme Court verdict on the entry of women into the sanctuary of Sabarimala. Many were arrested under the Public Property Damage Prevention Act, 1984, but the loss for damage to public property never recovered.
In October 2011, the Kerala HC had ordered that, in case of damage to public property, the defendant deposited an amount equivalent to the loss as a condition for the bond.
ASSAM: In the early days of the anti-citizenship protests that broke out last month, public property was violated in Guwahati and. The BJP-led government plans to initiate adequate legal action against the instigators of violence after gathering more evidence.
Rajasthan : There have been multiple cases of vandalism and arson, even during the agitation against the film in November 2017 and the Gujjar community quota was stirred in February 2019. In none of these cases, the state did not even calculate the scope of the damage to public property.