Saharanpur violence: 24 arrested so far in caste-based unrest after a Dalit dies in fresh clashes

After a fresh bout of caste-based violence in a Saharanpur village claimed one more life, Superintendent of Police (SP) Prabal Pratap sought to assure people that 24 arrests have already been made and that the investigation is on, according to Financial Express

Violence again broke out on Tuesday in Saharanpur's Shabbirpur village as some unidentified persons set fire to at least 12 houses of Thakurs in Shabbirpur village ahead of the arrival of Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati there, Pratap said.

District Magistrate NP Singh and SSP Subhash Chandra Dubey rushed to the scene and pacified members of the Thakur community. However, after Mayawati wrapped up her visit to the village, a sword-wielding mob attacked a Bolero of some BSP supporters, who had come from Sarsawa to attend her event.

 Saharanpur violence: 24 arrested so far in caste-based unrest after a Dalit dies in fresh clashes

BSP President Mayawati on her way to violence-hit Saharanpur on Tuesday. PTI

Police sources said the attackers allegedly fired their guns and wielded batons, killing Ashish (24), who hailed fom Sarsawa town, on the spot and injuring four others. The injured have been admitted to the district hospital. As word of the incident spread, Dalits in the city allegedly indulged in rioting and stone pelting at some places, forcing closure of markets.

Mayawati during her visit to the village held the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government responsible for the violence and alleged that the ruling party had failed to stop its own brigade from attacking weaker sections.

Meanwhile, the state government booted into action and ordered a four member team to visit the spot for inquiry. The team comprises ADG, Law and Order, Aditya Mishra, IG STF Amitabh Yash, DG Security Vijay Bhushan and is led by Home Secretary Mani Prasad Mishra. The state also deployed five Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) commandos in the region, according to ANIThe state government also announced to give compensation of Rs 15 lakhs to relative of a person who was killed during this incident, the Financial Express report said.

Saharanpur has been in the grip of caste violence since April.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath termed the incident as sad and unfortunate and offered his condolences to the family of the deceased. He said the culprits would be identified and strict action taken against them. He also appealed for peace and restraint and asked the opposition parties to cooperate in restoration of peace.

On 5 May, a Dalit group had objected to a procession of Thakurs in Shabbirpur to mark the birth anniversary of Rajput king Maharana Pratap, triggering violence, in which one person was killed and over 15 were injured. Dalits say upper caste Thakurs had earlier prevented them from installing a statue of BR Ambedkar on the premises of the Ravidas temple in the village.

Members of the Bheem Army, a Dalit group, had on 9 May torched a bus and set a number of two-wheelers afire after the administration had turned down their request to hold a mahapanchayat in Gandhi Park to demand compensation for those affected in the 5 May inter-caste clashes.

The village is home to around 600 Dalits and over 900 Thakurs.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: May 24, 2017 12:53:09 IST