Section 144 clamped in Saharanpur, Centre seeks report from UP government

After a fresh wave of caste conflagration sweeping Saharanpur over the last two days, the situation remained tense but under control on Thursday. 

Published: 25th May 2017 09:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th May 2017 09:33 PM   |  A+A-

A view of a street during curfew in Saharanpur a day after violent clashes between two communities over a land dispute on Sunday | PTI

Express News Service

LUCKNOW:  After a fresh wave of caste conflagration sweeping Saharanpur over the last two days, the situation remained tense but under control on Thursday. 

Amidst unprecedented deployment of police force in every nook and corner of the trouble-torn areas, the administration clamped Section 144 across the district suspending internet, mobile and SMS services and restricting political visits.

Taking cognisance of the ongoing caste flare-ups in Saharanpur, Union Home ministry is believed to have sought a detailed report from the State government on the unrest and the measures taken by it to contain the violence.

State intelligence agencies, meanwhile, have come out with a report hinting at alleged involvement of Bhim Army, a Dalit outfit, in fomenting hatred between Dalits and upper caste Thakurs triggering spells of violence in Saharanpur.

The report also talks about tacit support the outfit is getting from the top brass of Bahujan Samaj Party and also the CPI-ML. However, BSP chief Mayawati refuted the charges on Thursday by saying neither her party nor any of the BSP leaders was supporting the Bhim Army. “Bhim Army is rather a product of BJP,” she claimed.

Bhim Army’s national chief Vinay Ratan Singh has rejected the police intelligence report that stated absence of any known face in Bhim Army was its USP. “The administration is trying to digress from main issues by floating such theories about Bhim Army,” he added.

While the special team of four top officials including Secretary, Home, Mani Prasad Mishra, ADG (Law and Order) Aditya Mishra, IG UP STF, Amitabh Yash and DG (security) Vijay Bhushan, was staying-put in Saharanpur city, the newly-appointed District Magistrate Pramod Kumar Pandey and Senior Superintendent of Police Babloo Kumar camped in the violence-hit village Shabbirpur on Thursday. 

They interacted with the leaders of both the warring factions and appealed them to maintain peace and observe restrain. “Routine activities have been restored but we are keeping a close watch on the situation. Lack of confidence and trust between the two factions is a cause of concern for the law enforcement agencies as a small incident can snowball into a flare-up again,” said ADG Aditya Mishra.

While home secretary Mani Prasad Mishra claimed that the violence was the result of a well thought-out conspiracy, newly-appointed DM PK Pandey talked about the involvement of external elements.

“We are putting our acts together. Prima facie, there appears to be a pattern in the recurring violence but we are looking into every angle and until the investigations are over, it would not be appropriate to elaborate on it

further,” said Pandey who felt that administrative complacency also was one of the reasons for the build up. 

“We are on the lookout for the ‘masked’ trouble makers. We are determined to punish them for their role in the series of violent spells,” said the DM.

SP Babloo Kumar indicated the importance of briding the gap created by mistrust and hatred between the two factions to bring back normalcy. “So far, over 50 trouble makers have been held in the districts and we are ensuring intense police patrolling across the villages,” said the SSP.

After the recent spate in inter-caste violent incidents, DM Saharanpur NP Singh and SSP Subhash Chandra Dubey were suspended late on Wednesday night.

However, the warring communities of Shabbirpur have a different take on the reasons. While Dalits complained of relentless atrocities being perpetrated on them by upper caste Thakurs, Thakurs, in turn, put the blame on the government accusing it of Dalit appeasement. 

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