There were protests at a police station in Lucknow last night after Uttar Pradesh Police arrested the UP Congress minority cell chairperson Shahnawaz Alam for his alleged role in the violence that took place in the state capital in December 2019 during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). At least one person had died and many more were injured on December 19 as protests over the CAA turned violent in Lucknow.
Mr Alam was picked up along with two other Congress members from an apartment in central Lucknow a little after 8 pm on Monday. CCTV footage from the road outside the apartment shows Mr Alam being made to sit inside a jeep by police personnel in plain clothes.
In January this year, Shahnawaz Alam, 37, was appointed as the chairperson of the state Congress's minority cell. He is reportedly close to Congress UP general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and is originally from east UP's Ballia.
Late last night, Lucknow Police used lathis to force Congress workers raising slogans inside the police station compound where Mr Alam was brought to move out.
Mobile phone videos showed state Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu arguing with senior officials inside the police station compund and calling the police's move "dictatorship".
"Just because you have a pen, you cannot write cases against anyone at your will," Mr Lallu can be heard telling senior police officials. The cops respond by asking the Congress leaders to approach court. Later, the cops used lathis at the same spot against Congress workers who were raising slogans against Mr Alam's arrest.
"Congress leaders and workers are committed to raising their voice on matters of people's welfare. The BJP government is using UP police as their tool of choice and trying to suppress the voice of other party, but they will not be able to stop the Congress party," Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted in Hindi.
The police maintain that Mr Alam was arrested after a proper investigation. "His name had come to light earlier in our investigation into the violence that happened in the city's Parivartan Chowk area during anti CAA protests on December 19 last year. We have made the arrests only after getting evidence against him," said Dinesh Singh, a senior Lucknow Police official.