More than 60 shops in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, have been sealed following Thursday's mega protests across the country against the Centre's new citizenship law. The crackdown by the state administration comes after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's promise of action on protests - "We will take badla (revenge) on them," he had said. "There was violence in Lucknow and Sambhal and we will deal with it strictly. All properties of those involved in damaging public assets will be seized and auctioned to compensate for the losses," Yogi Adityanath had said. "They have been captured in video and CCTV footage. We will take "badla," he added.
The crackdown in Muzaffarnagar -- an area hit by riots in 2013 -- started soon. By the evening, 67 shops were sealed. No sealing has started in Lucknow or Sambhal, which had witnessed huge violence. Some notices for sealing have been distributed in Lucknow.
Muzaffarnagar witnessed violence on Friday, along with 12 other districts in the state. The violence had started in the afternoon, soon after Friday prayers. Around 10 bikes and several cars were torched and public property was vandalised. Around 30 people were injured, 12 of them were police officers.
It is not known yet how the owners of the shop were identified as wrongdoers by the administration. "The mob had gathered outside these shops and we are still investigating who are responsible for the violence," Abhishek Yadav, a senior officer of the local police, said.
There is also no law regarding sealing and auctioning property of the guilty to recoup money for damages in public property through violence or clashes.
Thirteen people died in protests held across 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh Friday. The list includes Saharanpur, Deoband, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Hapur, Sambhal, Aligarh, Bahraich, Ferozabad, Kanpur, Bhadohi and Gorakhpur.
Parts of the state are under prohibitory orders and internet has been unplugged. 705 people have been arrested and the police have filed 124 cases.
Since the Yogi Adityanath government came to power in 2017 in Uttar Pradesh, his government had sought recommendations about closure in over 100 riot cases related to Muzaffarnagar. The government has sought permission from courts to close at least 74 of these 100 cases, but all of these are pending.