SAHARANPUR/LUCKNOW: Three persons were killed and 19 others, including policemen, injured as violent clashes broke out between two communities over a land dispute in Saharanpur as mobs indulged in arson, after which curfew was clamped and shoot-at-sight ordered.
"Three persons, including traders leader Harish Kochar, Arif and an unidentified person were killed in clashes between the two communities," Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Mukul Goel said in Lucknow.
Five policemen, city magistrate, and 13 others were injured. A constable Shensar Pal was stated to be in a serious condition in Chandigarh PGI after suffering a bullet injury.
District Magistrate Sandhya Tiwari and SSP Rajesh Kumar Pandey told the media in Saharanpur this evening that shoot-at-sight order has been issued. Police fired rubber bullets to control the situation as mobs went on rampage setting several shops afire.
Prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC have been invoked in the district and curfew has been clamped in six areas, Commissioner, Saharanpur, Tanveer Zafar Ali said. Senior administrative and police officials were rushed to the spot to pacify the rival groups.
DIG STF Deepak Ratan and Bhuvnesh Kumar, who was Commissioner of Saharanpur earlier, have been rushed from Lucknow by helicopter to control the situation, sources said.
Besides, 18 companies of additional force including eight of PAC, six of CRPF ,two of RAF and two of ITBP have been deployed in the troubled areas, sources said. "As per the information received so far, there was a dispute over land between two communities which escalated this morning," Goel said.
Trouble began when members of one community started construction work at the site in Kutubsher area in the wee hours this morning, which was objected to by the other group.
Both the sides indulged in heavy brick-batting, arson and opened fire and there were reports of several shops being gutted in the clash, police said.
Even as curfew has been clamped, sporadic incidents of clashes were reported. The ADG said senior officers were camping in the area.
Saharanpur is nearly 170 km from national capital Delhi and 560 km from state capital Lucknow.
Congress, BJP Slam Govt
IANS Reports: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress leaders condemned the violence and slammed the state government for its failure to control the law and order situation in the state.
The BJP's state spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said it was most unfortunate that while the state government did not miss any opportunity to blame his party for any communal tension, the government's failure to check small incidents was at the root of all troubles in the state.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in a statement in New Delhi expressed his sadness at the communal clashes in Saharanpur. "I am deeply saddened to hear of the clashes in Saharanpur," Gandhi said.