NEW DELHI: Hitting out at the Samajwadi Party-led Uttar Pradesh government for the Mathura violence that claimed 22 lives, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the episode is a “stark reminder of deteriorating law and order situation in the state”.
“Unabated violence is a stark reminder of the deteriorating law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh,” Gandhi said in a tweet.
Gandhi also expressed his condolence to the families of policemen and others, who were killed in the violence.
“Hope the government ensures that peace in Mathura is restored immediately and the guilty are punished,” he added.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has said that the police should have been ‘more prepared’ before trying to evict the agitators, who had encroached on the land.
“It is quite unfortunate that such an incident happened in Mathura. The police had gone there to warn the people and the incident happened while they were doing the recce. They did not know how much arms and ammunition the locals had with them at the time. 19 people have died so far, including two police officers,” Akhilesh told the media here.
Stating that the Allahabad High Court had given them orders to remove the people, who had encroached on the land, he added that the state government had tried to speak to them and had also warned them of dire consequences but the locals still chose violence.
The Chief Minister also ruled out a CBI probe into the matter, saying that it would be conducted only at the Commissioner-level and action will be taken against the guilty following the investigation.
“The people there were squatting on the government’s property. The police should have gone ahead with full preparation, as they clearly did not know about the cache of ammunition that the locals had with them at the time,” Akhilesh said.
The Chief Minister had earlier ordered an inquiry into the incident and also announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 20 lakh to the family of deceased policemen.
The death toll in yesterday's Mathura clash has risen to 22. Those killed include Mathura Superintendent of Police (City) Mukul Dwivedi, Farah Police Station SHO Santosh Yadav and 20 protesters. More than 40 people have been injured in the incident.
The clashes between police and protesters broke out when the men in uniform launched a drive to clear encroachment in Jawahar Bagh area of the city.