Lok Sabha Elections: Police book more than 1100 people in Uttara Kannada; locals fear harassment

Source: S.O. News Service | Published on 19th March 2019, 10:46 PM | Coastal News | Special Report |

Bhatkal: What many locals have termed as a sudden move before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, police in the North Canara region of Karnataka has booked 1119 people under IPC 107 and 108. According to a Kannada daily Karavali Munjavu, the move has been termed as sudden and surprising because in the assembly elections that were held just 10 months ago, only 227 people were booked under the same provisions of IPC. The assembly polls were held under more tense atmosphere escalated by the death of Paresh Mestah, a Hindu youth who, as per the allegations of BJP was burnt by ‘Muslim Jihadis’; although later medical reports had ruled out death by burning.  

What are these arrests about?
Whenever elections are around the corner, the local police issues notices to people who it thinks may disturb peace and create law and order problems. When such a notice is issued, the person against whom it has been issued has to appear before an executive magistrate and sign a bond which states that he\she is a person who may disturb peace in the area and that they promise not to do anything to create any law and order problems. Either this, or the respondent has to fight the notice through a lawyer in the Tehsil court. The respondent may also choose to appeal the Karwar Sessions Court to quash the notice. It’s not hard to guess how many of the respondents would have the energy or resources to fight such a notice. 

Strange statistics:
Even a cursory look at the statistics of arrests and notices issued paints a strange picture. How come the number of such ‘dangerous’ people rose from 227 to a stunning 1119? Was the region invaded by an army of lawbreakers just a couple of months before the polls? Moreover, the general political atmosphere is comparatively calmer than it was during the assembly elections. Then why such a huge rise in the numbers? People are left to wonder. 

Action should be against real trouble-makers, don’t fool us by ramping up numbers, locals said.  Many locals are complaining that people who are clearly no danger to the region’s law and order are also being subjected to the humiliating notices. “Even if someone filed a false case against you and you had to appear in a court, you may end up getting the notice.” Said a local who wished not to be named. “We want the authorities to maintain law and order. We are always ready to help them in maintaining the peace. But things like these make us lose confidence in them. We want them to arrest and keep an eye on the real trouble-makers, not just hoard up numbers to portray they are working.” he added. 

Another citizen said that many a times, normally law abiding people fall into circumstances in which they might end up on the wrong side of the law. They have already been to the courts and the cases against them are very old. If a person has reformed and there is no record of him/her causing trouble since then, why should they be again humiliated to go through this process? Isn’t this against the very idea of reform?

Sources have informed that people caught in civil disputes and other relatively petty issues have also been issued notices. A lady, who was arrested 8 years for providing liquor illegally and who had gone through the legal proceedings was also issued a notice. 

Locals have also raised concerns that if the sudden rise of troublemakers in the region is indeed true then it threatens the peace and security of the region and citizens would have to come together to avert any problems.

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