After the scars of Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur communal-caste clashes, Uttar Pradesh is once again under the heat of communal tension, as it seems to have become a growing trend for past one year. This time, it was the provocative celebrations of Republic Day in Kasganj district of western UP that spurted into violence, as clash broke out between two communities, leading to the death of a 22-year-old young boy, and leaving several people injured. Another person succumbed to his injuries next day at a local hospital. The administration, as a measure to control the riot, snapped internet and communications services to stop propagating baseless rumours.
Three Scorpio SUVs, two Magic passenger transport vehicles and about a dozen of vehicles including heavy trucks were also targeted by the mob on the Mathura-Bareilly highway. The unruly crowd also set afire a kiosk near a petrol pump and a waste dump. Fire tenders were rushed to douse the fire.
The incident was reported on January 26 when around 50-60 motorcycle riding volunteers of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had taken out a bike rally as part of ‚ÄúTiranga Yatra‚ÄĚ (Tricolour March). To march through, they entered a road which was already occupied by another community geared up to hoist the national flag as part of R‚ÄôDay celebration, and were shouting slogans like ‚ÄúHindustan me Rehna Hoga to Vande Matram Kehna Hoga. Some chairs were laid out blocking the road and bikers were stopped until the flag is unfurled. The biker group were allegedly booed at while passing the locality. Soon, a clash between the two groups broke out.
Rakesh Kumar, Additional District Magistrate, Kasganj, said the ‚ÄúTiranga Yatra rally was taken out without permission from the administration. On the other hand, the organiser of Tiranga Yatra claimed that no permission is required to be obtained on Republic day.‚ÄĚ
Ripudaman Singh, Station House Officer, Kasganj, said the clash occurred after a group in Badu Nagar objected to certain slogans raised by motorcycle-borne participants of the Tiranga Yatra, which had started from the Bilram Gate area.
He said another trigger for the clash was an altercation in which a member of one group allegedly slapped a youth of the other. The group had reached the Mathura-Bareilly highway near the Bilram Gate area when some unidentified people hurled stones at them. A verbal altercation followed, which soon turned violent. The angry mob went on a rampage, damaging more than 12 vehicles and property, a district official said. The agitated people also tried to set afire a place of religious worship and some religious texts.
Briefing the media about Kasganj riots, the Principal Secretary (Home), Arvind Kumar said that in this connection two cases have been registered. The first is against four named and some unnamed accused for rioting, attempt to murder and damaging public property. All the four named accused were arrested by police along with two others in this case.
In the murder of Chandan alias Abhishek Gupta, a case has been registered against 20 named persons for riots and murder under stringent provisions of law, and three accused have been arrested so far. Apart from above 9 arrests in above two cases, 112 persons were arrested as a preventive measure for the apprehension of breach of peace and public order. While ADG Agra Zone, Commissioner Aligarh, IG Aligarh have been camping there since January 26. An IG level officer DK Thakur has reached there from Lucknow and camping there to supervise and monitor the situation closely.
‚ÄúWe are speaking to the people, the guilty are being arrested, and intensive checking and house-to-house searches were undertaken. We will not spare any guilty and will book them under the provisions of NSA. Our strict handling helped us to bring the situation under absolute control,‚ÄĚ claimed new DGP OP Singh in Lucknow who had taken the charge just couple of days back.
‚ÄúSufficient back up of force has been deputed in troubled areas. Five Companies of PAC and one company of Rapid Action Force had been deployed there soon after the unfortunate incident along with additional civil police officers, policemen from the zone. One more company of RAF has been subsequently provided to control any untoward incidents,‚ÄĚ he added.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 Cr.PC have been imposed by District Magistrate RP Singh to defuse tension. The situation is claimed to be well under control.