Mangaluru, Jan 03, 2020: The lathi charge and firing by the police during the outbreak of violence on December 19, 2019 was ‘disproportionate’ and directed at creating panic, declared a self-styled fact-finding team in the city.
The team comprises members from the All India People’s Forum (AIPF), the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO).
A final report by the team will be submitted to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the chief justice of India through a district legal services authority, PUCL Karnataka President Y J Rajendra Prasad said on Thursday.
“The findings of the team are based on field visits, interactions with eyewitnesses, people being treated in hospitals, family members of people who died in the firing and the video footage. The team members also spoke to the officials,” he clarified.
“The district surgeon has said that 66 people were being treated at the district hospital for bruises and other injuries. There were 42 police personnel were among the injured. Most them had minor injuries,” Prasad added.
He stated that the team had found that the people injured in the lathi charge and police firing were not protesters but students and daily wage workers.
Swathi Sheshadri of the AIPF said that the police had used a ‘disproportionate’ amount of violence. The conversation between Inspector Shantaram Kunder and other police officials exposes the mentality of the police, she added.
The FIR, which has mentioned the accused as ‘unknown Muslims’, shows that the police were biased, she insisted.
The team has urged the government to initiate a judicial inquiry into the police firing.
“The 25 arrested youth should be released and the FIR should be withdrawn.
The team has also urged the government to take action against Mangaluru Commissioner of Police Dr P S Harsha and Inspector Kunder.
The families of the two deceased should be provided with an ex gratia not exceeding Rs 10 lakh each,” they have demanded.