A day after the protest by residents of Ahinsa Khand II in Indirapuram, which included blocking of busy CISF road, police on Monday lodged an FIR against more than 50 protesters for disturbing law and order. Police have named 10 residents while names of others have been registered as unknown in the FIR.
The accused are booked under section section 141 (Unlawful assembly), 147 (Punishment for rioting), 341 (Wrongfully restraining any person) and 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) of the IPC.
While three charges are bailable offences, charge under section 332 of IPC is a non-bailable offence where guilty can be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
On Sunday, over 200 residents of Ahinsa Khand II had blocked CISF road to demonstrate their anger against lackadaisical approach of GDA towards resolving long-pending issues related to substandard quality of road and waterlogging due to sewage overflow in the area.
"The apathetic attitude of GDA forced us to step out on streets. Our purpose was to garner the attention of the administration and make them hear to our grievances which they generally don’t do,” said a resident of Rishabh Cloud 9 society and one of the accused in the FIR.
“We understand that our protest caused discomfort to the commuters but they were less than 5,000 in number. However, more than 25,000 residents of Ahinsa Khand II are struggling with dilapidated road and waterlogging due to overflow of sewage water regularly," said another accused who is also a resident of Rishabh Cloud 9.
Meanwhile, she claimed that the residents did not disrupt the traffic for a long time. “We didn't block the road for the entire duration of the protest. We stepped aside when police assured us that an official from district administration was on his way to meet us,” she said.
The residents also blamed the police for high-handedness in dealing this matter. “Is it justified that residents are being booked for demonstrating their issues,” she asked.
However, SP (City) Shlok Kumar said their act had promoted lawlessness. “Their way of protest was not right. If they had issues with GDA, they could have protested at their office. Blocking road and causing inconvenience to the public in the name of protest is neither lawful nor justified,” he added.
Residents blame false accusations and unjustified charges
A resident of Princess Park society in Ahinsa Khand II, who has been accused in the FIR, claimed that he was not in Ghaziabad when protest happened. “I was in Muzzafarnagar since Saturday morning and returned on Sunday evening. “Surprisingly, I have been named in the FIR,” he said.
Besides, a resident of Niho Scottish Garden claimed that he did not participate in the protest but helped the police instead. “I was at the site of protest for barely 20 minutes. For the entire duration of protest, I was helping the officials in clearing out the traffic. I did not participate in the protest," he said.
Apart from the claims of being wrongfully booked, residents also said that the charges are unjustified, especially section 332 of IPC which is imposed for “voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty.”
“We took up the matter with the visiting officials in very respectful and peaceful manner. Even when police asked us to clear the road, we had put forward our request to continue protest very politely. Nothing happened forcefully. How come a charge of causing hurt was imposed on the protesters?” a resident of Raison Armor Homes society questioned.
The residents also wondered how police got to know their names when no police official inquired them.
SP Kumar said that police had inquired about their names from the fellow protesters. When questioned about claim of false accusation, he said that it will be verified during the investigation. “Whatever the issues are, they will be checked during investigation. We will record statements, go through CCTV footages and recorded videos. There's nothing to worry,” he added.