Kasganj communal violence: Section 144, internet shutdown continue in UP district; accused identified, say cops
The situation in Kasganj remained tense on Sunday, three days after violent clashes followed a 'Tiranga Yatra' carried out by bike-borne youth on Republic Day where one person was killed.
Three days after violent clashes followed a 'Tiranga Yatra' carried out by bike-borne youth in Uttar Pradesh's Kasganj on Republic Day where a young man was killed, an unofficial curfew continues to remain imposed, according to several media reports. Internet services have been suspended till 10 pm on Sunday in certain areas of western Uttar Pradesh.
Tension prevailed even as the administration organised a meeting of the district peace committee this morning in a bid to restore normalcy, officials said. Following the meeting, it was decided that shops and commercial establishments in the area would be opened, they said.
Divisional Commissioner, Aligarh, Subhash Chandra Sharma, said shops selling tea, snacks, vegetables, milk and medicine were already allowed to remain open.
Meanwhile, IG Sanjeev Kumar today told ANI that the accused have been identified and are going to be nabbed soon. One country made bomb and pistol were also recovered from the residence of one of the accused.
Though authorities claimed that the situation was now under control, a Hindustan Times report stated that miscreants had set a kiosk on fire Sunday morning. Kasna district magistrate RP Singh has been quoted as saying that “The district of Kasganj has not witnessed any major clash or violence resulting even in injury to anyone during last three days after clashes killed one person. We are doing our best to control the situation but the miscreants are now resorting to stray attacks on shops and abandoned objects lying in the city just to draw attention towards them. The kiosk burnt on Sunday morning is in continuation with such design of miscreants. We are working round the clock to arrest miscreants and end such stray incident."
Late on Saturday, shops at Ghantaghar were burnt down and private buses parked on Nadrai Gate were set on fire. Earlier in the day, police had arrested 49 people in connection with acts of arson and vandalism allegedly committed by people returning from the cremation of Chandan Gupta, a student of commerce at a local college, who was killed in Friday’s clashes.
Thirty-nine others were taken into custody for fomenting trouble despite the imposition of curfew. The district administration blocked internet services on Saturday evening to prevent rumour mongering. Authorities have shut schools and colleges as a precautionary measure. RAF, PAC, CRPF personnel held flag marches as a preventive measure. Additional police forces from adjoining districts were called in and deployed across the city to avert any recurrence of trouble.
A Special Investigative Team (SIT) has been formed to arrest the others accused in the violence.
So what exactly happened on the 26th?
Indian Express today reported that on Republic Day, before motorbike-borne youth on their 'Tiranga Yatra' could enter Baddu Nagar in Kasganj near Bilram Gate under Kotwali area, residents of the Muslim-dominated locality had arranged chairs on the road and were getting ready to hoist the tricolour.
Members of the bike rally (alleged to be student activists from RSS-backed ABVP and Vishwa Hindu Parishad) had then demanded that the chairs be removed to clear the path for them to move ahead. “They were shouting slogans, we requested them to let our celebrations finish first. But they were adamant and did not leave,” Mohammed Munazir Rafi, a resident and advocate was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
After they refused to leave, an argument began between the locals and the youth, as purportedly seen in a video of the standoff circulated among some Baddu Nagar residents. A group of around 60 young men carrying the national flag and saffron flags reportedly could be heard shouting: “The bikes will pass through here."
“We asked them to join the celebration,” Rafi told IE. “But many people had gathered and soon, there was some pushing and shoving. Then they left their bikes here and went away. I called the Kasganj Police Station and apprised them of the situation when they arrived 25 minutes later.”
The motorbike-borne youth then reportedly took a detour to reach Tehsil road, another Muslim-dominated locality nearby, whose residents thought they had arrived to retaliate. “This triggered the shooting incident in which a young man was killed,” Kasganj Additional SP Pavitra Mohan Tripathi told the newspaper. Stones were pelted and someone from the clashing mob fired in the air injuring two persons who were later rushed to the district hospital where one of them succumbed during the treatment.
The mob then vandalised the vehicles parked in the area and set them on fire. Around half a dozen vehicles were damaged during the clashes. As tempers ran high and tension gripped the area, those who were taking out the yatra fled the spot. In the meantime, the district police dispersed the frenzied mob and arrested around two dozen troublemakers –- a dozen each from both communities.