Days after the Uttar Pradesh police clashed with the members of Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi (ABVVKS) at Jawahar Bagh, the state government on Monday submitted a two-page report detailing the sequence of events that led to the deaths of around 30 people.
According to the report, the police was forced to act before adequate preparations had been made, following an attack by the cult members, The Hindu reported.
After admitting to some lapses in the police’s handling of the Mathura clashes, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav transferred the District Magistrate Rajesh Kumar and the senior superintendent of the Mathura Police Rakesh Kumar Singh.
In a letter sent to the home ministry, the UP government said that the police failed to assess the dangers the cult may pose even after an alarm was raised by the district magistrate on 20 February, reported NDTV.
Responding to attacks by the Opposition, the Akhilesh government on Monday said that there was no political pressure on the police to not evict encroachers from Jawahar Bagh. BJP chief Amit Shah had targeted the Samajwadi Party and Shivpal Yadav of patronising the cult.
BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma, who was sent by the party to assess the situation, had also alleged that the police were "under pressure from the administration to go easy as land-grabbers had links" with the ruling party.
Aligarh Divisional Commissioner Chandra Kant began a probe into the violence on Sunday to ascertain the circumstances leading to the deadly incident. So far, 45 cases have been registered against the encroachers belonging to the ABVVKS.
Opposition leaders have been trying to manipulate the incident and attack the state government ahead of the 2017 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh suggested the state government to recommend a CBI probe into the violence. “If the UP government recommends a CBI probe, we will surely accept it. It is not an ordinary incident,” he said.
In a press conference, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra criticised the UP government, and said that the state administration was responsible for law and order. "Why was the government missing?," he asked.
The state BJP spokesperson Vijay Bahadur Pathak said, "The Mathura incident is entirely because of intelligence failure. Timely assessment was not done as to how many people were present at the spot and what fire arms they possessed.”
BSP supremo Mayawati accused the NDA government at the centre of antics and inaction with regards to the violence at Jawahar Bagh. “They (NDA) are only indulging in rhetoric and drama in Uttar Pradesh,” she said. Further, she alleged that the violence was sparked off due to the state administration’s tacit support to the “land-grabbers”.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) too slammed the Akhilesh Yadav government for the violence and demanded its resignation. It alleged that “jungle raj and mafia raj” has been thriving in Uttar Pradesh ever since the Samajwadi Party came to power. Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said that his party had demanded eviction of illegal occupants from the land and it was not done despite the orders from the High Court.”
Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju also alleged that the violence in Mathura was a lapse on the part of the UP government.
Meanwhile, Hema Malini was tweeting pictures of her shooting for a film and hoping for its early release. Soon after her tweets were picked up by media channels, she deleted them and expressed her grief over the incident. She also attacked the UP government for not paying attention to the encroachment before. She also met the family of deceased SP Mukul Dwiwedi.
Met the family members- father, wife, brother & son of SP City Mukul Dwivedi & expressed my deep grief at their loss pic.twitter.com/iYmORf4Dpv
— Hema Malini (@dreamgirlhema) June 4, 2016
Rahul Gandhi also mounted attack on the state government, saying it is a stark reminder of the "deteriorating" law and order situation in the state. He expressed his condolences and hoped the government ensures that peace is restored in a series of tweets.
Unabated violence is a stark reminder of the deteriorating law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh. (2/3)
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) June 3, 2016
In summation, the violence in Mathura has unsurprisingly turned into a political issue for the parties. Ahead of the elections, all the parties have accused the state government for its ignorance. The Akhilesh government on its part, renounced itself of all blame and instead attacked the police for its failure.
With inputs from agencies