Meerut (Uttar Pradesh): Eighteen Samajwadi Party (SP) workers, most of them students, have been booked for an attempt to murder charge and 16 of them have been sent to jail after they allegedly attacked and injured a policeman who stopped them from burning the effigy of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Apart from section 307 (attempt to murder), the protesters were also booked under 15 more IPC sections, including rioting and unlawful gathering, despite prohibitory orders.
The SP District President, Rajpal Singh has now written to the Meerut District Magistrate, saying that those arrested were “innocent youths who were simply exercising their right to protest”.
Meerut Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Prabhakar Chaudhary on Monday claimed that the SP workers had thrown petrol on policemen.
“A policeman received burn injuries as the petrol caught fire,” the SSP said.
The FIR was filed on October 4, the day when the SP had organised a protest against Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
The SSP said nearly 200 SP workers were present at the incident site near the Uttar Pradesh Police Commissioner office during the protest.
“But only 18 SP workers have been booked as they hurt a policeman on duty. Their own party workers were also injured. One of our police constables received burn injuries and his uniform was burnt. They started fighting with policemen who were just trying to make them understand that such protests were not allowed as Section 144 of the CrPC was in force,” Chaudhary added.
SP leader Rajpal Singh asked: “Since when has a protest become an offence that is charged with an attempt to murder. Also where is the policeman reported to have been hurt? You think someone with burn injuries can recover in five days without an injury mark?”
He said the party’s youth wing members who were booked under such serious sections have a career ahead and many of them hail from poor families.