MHA seeks second report, ‘details missing in first’
The Home Ministry has sought another report from the Yogi Adityanath government on the Kasganj communal violence and the action taken to tackle the situation. Further details were sought since the preliminary report received earlier was not found to be comprehensive. Details on the exact sequence of events, number of those arrested, FIR, among others were missing in the first report, a TV channel from India has reported.
What went wrong ?
The incident occurred in Kasganj district of Uttar Pradesh where two groups pelted stones at each other on last Friday, Republic Day, during a “Tiranga Bike Rally” by activists of the RSS-backed students’ group ABVP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Reports suggest that Chandan was a participant in the rally. A mobile phone video accessed by a leading TV channel from India the NDTV shows hundreds of young men, many holding saffron flags, standing at one of the streets. Reports suggest that they were asked by locals to give way, but they refused. In the video, the members of the rally can be heard saying that they won’t change the route. They were screaming slogans and said that everyone will have to chant “Vande Mataram if they wish to live in India. “ The violence started soon after. Stone pelting followed and gunshots were fired.
The locals, who are mostly Muslims, have given accounts to the media that they had arranged for Republic Day celebrations in the area when hundreds of men in motorcycles came. The locals asked them to not take the route as there were chairs kept for the program and a flag hoisting ceremony was about to commence. But the RSS-backed groups started sloganeering. BJP’s Kasganj district chief, Purendra Pratap Singh Solanki, denied allegations that his party was involved in the clash. “The victim, Chandan Gupta, did not belong to the BJP or any of its affiliated organisations. The Tiranga Yatra was taken out by local residents,” he claimed.
Chandan died in the clashes, while Naushad, a labourer who was on his way home from work, got caught in the crossfire and a bullet hit his leg. He is currently out of danger.
Various Hindu organisations have been alleging that the riot was the result of a well-thought-out conspiracy, according to The Week. The daily also reports that the police have arrested one Vaseem Javed for murder and a pistol was recovered from his residence in search operations. However, according to police, his role in the incident is being probed.
ACTION AFTER GOVERNOR’S RAP
The state government transferred district police chief even as the director general of police (DGP) OP Singh shot off directives asking the police to deal firmly with troublemakers. The police action came only after UP governor Ram Naik described the Kasganj clashes as a ‘kalank’ (blot) on the state and asked the state government to ensure there was no recurrence.
The UP government has constituted a special investigation team (SIT) under the Assistant Superintendent of Police (crime) Etah to probe the violence. The police arrested 125 persons after violence, a home department officer said on condition of anonymity.
DGP Singh said no permission was required for the ‘Tiranga Yatra’ “Republic Day is a national festival and no permission is required” He added that the SIT would probe the failure of the district administration to check communal violence and also identify the people involved for the clashes. According to him, “Some antisocial elements started pelting stones which resulted in the death of a man and injury to another. Police immediately reached the spot and controlled the situation.” Interestingly, the investigators are yet to determine the organisation that took out Tiranga Yatra in Baddu Nagar. “It appears to be a mixed group of people from different organisations,” said the Inspector General of Police, Aligarh, Sanjeev Gupta. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath announced a compensation of ₹20 lakh to the family of Chandan who was shot dead in the communal violence. Chandan’s father Sushil Gupta, 51, demanded that his son be declared a martyr. “Some people have suggested that a crossing should be named after him in Kasganj. I am not averse to the idea,” he said.
The Uttar Pradesh police has arrested Saleem, one of the main accused in the murder that took place during the violence in Kasganj on Republic Day.
It is alleged that the bullets that killed 22-year-old Chandan Gupta were fired from Saleem’s house. The violence broke out after some youths forcibly tried to take out a bike procession without permission through a communally sensitive locality.
While police have formed special teams to nab the remaining accused and are probing the sequence of events on that day, they kept on edge with the VHP and its youth wing, the Bajrang Dal, carrying out Tiranga (tri color) rallies in at least five districts of the State. The outfits were demanding that Chandan Gupta be declared a martyr and the culprits arrested. Rallies were taken out or attempted in Aligarh, Agra and Firozabad, districts close to Kasganj, as well as Bareilly and Kanpur.
Anand Kumar, Additional Director General, Law and Order, said Saleem, who has been absconding since January 26, was listed among the “main accused” in the FIR . “As per the FIR and statements of some of the witnesses, he is the person who fired from the roof or balcony of his house,” Mr. Kumar said. While police are questioning Saleem, they are also going to conduct a forensic examination to match the bullet to the weapons recovered in the raids carried after the incident.