The Allahabad High Court ordered the removal of hoardings that displayed details of accused of violence during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests along with their photographs in Lucknow on Monday, March 9. The hoardings also specified the amount to be paid within a given time by the people if they did not want their assets to be confiscated.
Calling it "unacceptable", the bench said that a proper hearing should have been held instead of putting up banners and publicly shaming people.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, political activist Sadaf Jafar, who was also named on the hoarding, said: "Jeete jee zinda latka diya chaurahe pe (It's as if they hanged us alive)".
Asserting that the state authorities should promote "good sense", the court directed the district magistrate and divisional commissioner of Lucknow to remove the hoardings by March 16 and submit a report in this regard.
Referring to the state's action as "highly unjust", the bench, comprising of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Ramesh Sinha, said that it was an absolute encroachment on the personal liberty of the accused.
The Lucknow administration, on March 6, had put out hoardings with names, photos, and addresses of as many as 53 people at several locations in Lucknow. Political activist Sadaf Jafar retired IPS officer SR Darapuri, Shia cleric Maulana Saif Abbas, activist and poet Deepak Kabir and human rights defender Mohammed Shoaib were among those who were named.
"They are trying to scare us and cow us down. CAA and NRC is not the only thing we have been our voicing our discontentment against. We have been doing it ever since the government has come, for price hikes and how the state tops the list of atrocities against women. The CM knows who we are, which is why he is doing this," Sadaf said.
An official from Chief Minister Adityanath's office confirmed that the hoardings were placed based on his instructions.
"I was singled out for my political affiliation and my identity. I am a woman, a congress worker and a Muslim. But for the CM, my Muslim identity comes first," Sadaf said, adding, "Our pictures are in people's galleries, the damage is already done".
Another activist Deepak Kabir, who was also named in the hoarding called it a deliberate attempt by the government to defame people.
On March 6, the Lucknow District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash claimed about 100 such hoardings would be put up at several places. After the protests began in December in Lucknow and other parts of Uttar Pradesh, CM Adityanath had declared to take "revenge" and attach the property of anyone involved in the violence and damage caused.
The police had also video graphed those who had were seen at the protest sites after which hundreds of people were arrested and accused of inciting violence.
"If I am a person who believes in the Constitution of India, I would never want anybody to be named or shamed like this. A lot of people have said that they will put hoardings of CM Yogi for his actions, but then how are we any different from them? Even if we have to set our records right with them, we will do it legally," Sadaf told The Logical Indian.