Mangaluru: In the wake of recent violence and clashes between anti-CAA protesters and Police personnel in the city on December 19, a fact-finding team of human rights and civil liberty activists from Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Delhi has submitted its initial report after meeting concerned authorities, families of the two deceased in the clashes and the victims who sustained injuries during the protest and clashes.

The team consisting of Avani Chokshi, Clifton D’ Rozario, Swathi Seshadri, Venugopalan K.M. and (All AIPF), Himanshu Kumar, Panditaradhya, Venkatraju, YJ Rajendra and (All PUCL), Mohammed Nowfal and Umar Farouq (both NCHRO) has demanded an immediate judicial enquiry into the matter while also calling for suspension of Mangaluru Police Commissioner, Dr. PS Harsha and Police Inspector Shantaram Kundar. The suspension of the two officers has been sought on grounds of dereliction of duty in handling situation and for the ‘undisputed statement’ made by Shantaram Kundar in a captured video respectively.

The team has also demanded the government to announce and pay ex-gratia of Rs. Ten lac to the families of each of the deceased. It has also added that the state government should bear the expenses of all the injured victims, including the three patients in Highland Hospital whose condition seriously deteriorated on account of the tear gas fired by the police.

“It appears that there was heavy police deployment, including of external KSRP forces in the vicinity at various places, especially at the State Bank circle. Preparations went to the extent of arranging for sand bags and riot gear at the location” a press statement from the team stated.

Going against the claims made by police personnel that there were thousands of protesters, the fact finding team concluded there were not more than 200-300 people who took to the streets.

“Beginning from the afternoon all the way through the evening, it appears that cumulatively there were not more than 200-300 protesters who had taken to the streets. This goes contrary to the claims of the police that thousands poured onto the streets. Including bystanders and travelers who had alighted from buses there were no more than 400 in the State bank and Bunder area” they reported.

“The protesters were violently thrashed, kicked, pushed around and abused before being thrown into police vans without any provocation in a premeditated manner. The police came down upon them with disproportionate force and violence. We are given to understand that several persons who were at the receiving end of police brutality including media persons have approached the police and other concerned authorities for action to be taken against the police” the report further added.

The team also concluded that there was some confusion amongst the youth about whether or not the protest announced for that day had been cancelled, as the message of cancellation issued after imposition of prohibitory orders under section 144 had not circulated to all.

Pinpointing the police’s excess of force on Muslim community, the team in their report noted the police selectively attacked Muslims and also attacked a mosque where about 80 people were praying peacefully in the evening of December 19.

“It appears that thereafter, the Police went on a rampage and stormed into shops in the vicinity, pulling out people, selectively attacking Muslims. At around 4 pm, a team of police attacked Ibrahim Khaleel mosque where about 80 persons were praying peacefully. The police apparently sought to chase certain youth into the said mosque and then initiated an indiscriminate attack upon the mosque. The police launched an attack of stones and teargas through and above the slats of the mosque gate, causing havoc and confusion” the report stated.

“The leaders of the community were brought in by the police to try to calm the situation down, and, in fact, were succeeding in doing so when one leader, Ashraf, the former Mayor of Mangaluru city, was injured on the head by the police. Reports differ in regard to whether the injury was caused by a bullet. This again aggravated the situation.

“At this point, the police began indiscriminate firing of guns and teargas. Two innocent bystanders were killed during this firing, both of which took place on Azizuddin Road, where the Mangaluru North Police Station is located. One of them was a 42-year old father of two and daily wage earner on the docks, who had stepped out of his house to offer Namaz. There was no mob present, yet tear gas and bullets was being fired into the road, one of which hit Abdul Jaleel in the head. In another incident on another end of Azizuddin Road, 23-year old Nausheen who was attempting to return home from the workshop he was working at, fell prey to the blind and indiscriminate firing when a bullet hit him in his midriff. Highland Hospital where many of the seriously injured were admitted, reported that there were 5 persons admitted with bullet and shell linked injuries. This is apart from Jaleel and Nausheen. The family members reported that they have filed complaints with the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). The killing of Jaleel and Nausheen are extra judicial killings as they were done outside the procedures of law. The very next day the hospital administration filed a complaint and wanted action to be taken against the responsible personnel but no action was taken in this regard” it further added.

The team also spoke to Dr. Rajeshwari Devi, Dakshina Kannada District Medical Officer “She informed us that on 19th December, 66 people were treated in the OPD of which 26 were civilians and 42 were police persons. Police continued to get treatment from the OPD till the 22nd of December. Apparently there were conscious attempts on the part of the police to make it appear that the number of policemen injured by the alleged stone pelting by the mob outnumbered civilians who suffered injuries from violence by police. The cases of police treated in Wenlock were mostly related to bruises, lacerations, contusions and swelling. There were 2 cases of bullet injuries in which one of the victims admitted took discharge immediately. There several instances of victims who we met who have not gone to Wenlock or other big hospitals for fear of being falsely implicated by the police. Most of the FIRs are open FIRs which serve as a constant threat” the report said.

“As reported above the police have targeted shops and street stalls owned by people from the Muslim community. While in other parts of Karnataka protestors defying the Section 144 order were arrested, in Mangaluru the police resorted to brutal violence to deal with the protestors. Some open FIRs mention the accused as ‘Unknown Muslim Youth’. The attack on the masjid and people coming out of the masjid, that all who were admitted either for bullet/shell injuries and severe injuries due to lathi charge even on those alighting from buses, were all Muslim indicates that the police force has been communalized” the initial report read.

“Within 2 days of the incidents, all the CCTV DVRs have been taken away by the police. Based on the criticism that the police have already faced, it is alleged that this was done in an attempt by the police to cover their tracks. Similarly, on the matter of the internet ban, it appears that it was done only to prevent videos about the police violence from being circulated” it further added.

"We must clarify that on meeting with the Commissioner of Police, he informed us that he was too busy to have a discussion, and would prefer if we submitted whatever questions we had or clarifications we sought in writing, which has been done last evening and still no response is received to the same" it concluded.

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Melbourne: Shafali Verma's 34-ball 46 followed by a superlative performance from the bowlers helped India notch up a narrow four-run win over New Zealand in a crucial group A match of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup here on Thursday.

Invited to bat, India posted a below-par 133 for eight against New Zealand in the crucial group A match with Shafali top-scoring with a 34-ball 46 and Taniya Bhatia chipping in with a 25-ball 23.

India, however, produced a disciplined performance with the ball to restrict New Zealand to 129 for six and register their third successive win in the tournament.

With this win, India topped Group A, having beaten Australia and Bangladesh in their last two outing.

Defending the total, India introduced spin straight away but Deepti Sharma bled 12 runs with opener Rachel Priest (12) hitting her for two boundaries.

But experienced pacer Shikha Pandey removed Priest in the next over when she had her caught at mid wicket. With Shikha and left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad bowling in tandem, New Zealand played with caution to reach 28 for one.

Back into the attack, Deepti then cleaned up Bates with a beauty of a delivery as New Zealand slipped to 30 for two.

Poonam Yadav and Radha Yadav then mounted the pressure on the Kiwis and soon the Black Caps were 34 for 3 when the former dismissed skipper Sophie Devine (14).

Maddy Green (24) and Katey Martin (25) then tried to resurrect the innings with a 36-ball 43-run stand. However, Gayakwad returned to remove Green, who danced down the pitch only to end up with an outside edge as Bhatia did the rest.

Radha then dismissed Martin to leave New Zealand at 90 for 5 in 16.3 overs.

Needing 44 off 21 balls, Kerr (34) blasted four boundaries to accumulate 18 runs in the penultimate over bowled by Poonam to bring the equation down to 16 off six balls.

In the final over, Heyley Jensen (11) and Kerr cracked a four each but Shikha held her nerves in the end to complete the win.

Earlier, 16-year-old Shafali provided the fireworks as India scored 49 for one in the powerplay overs. But they lost six wickets for 43 runs to squander the good start.

Smriti Mandhana (11), who returned to the playing XI after missing the last match due to illness, departed early but Shafali and Taniya (23) kept the scoreboard ticking, adding 51 runs for the second wicket.

In the 10th over, Taniya was caught by Amelia Kerr at backward point, while Jemimah Rodrigues (10) was caught by Kerr in the 12th over as India slipped to 80 for 3.

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur's (1) poor form also continued as she was soon back to the hut after being caught and bowled by Leigh Kasperek.

Shafali, who was dropped at long-on in the 8th over and at mid-wicket in the 10th over, then holed out to Jensen at deep extra cover. She had four hits to the fence and three maximum shots in her innings.

Left-handed batter Deepti Sharma (8) and Veda Krishnamurthy (6) brought up the 100 in the 15th over but both departed soon as India slumped to 104 for 6.

Radha Yadav then blasted 14 off nine balls, which included a six in the final over, to give some respectability to the total.

Brief Score:

India women: 133 for 8 in 20 overs (Shafali Verma 46; Amelia Kerr 2/21).

New Zealand women: 129 for six in 20 overs (Amelia Kerr 34 not out; Shikha Pandey 1/21).