Violence, arson keep Uttar Pradesh's Kasganj on edge; 49 arrested day after communal clashes kill one

A day after communal clashes in Uttar Pradesh's Kasganj led to the death of one Chandan Gupta, tension continued in the district as miscreants torched two buses, vandalised shops and attacked property, media reports said on Saturday.

ANI quoted Kasganj district magistrate RP Singh as saying that 49 people have been arrested in connection with Republic Day clashes. A government spokesperson said prohibitory orders still remain in effect, but did not say whether the curfew had been lifted.

According to News18, a mob vandalised shops and a religious structure while reportedly returning from Gupta's cremation. News18 further reported that supporters of Sadhvi Prachi entered into a verbal altercation with the police personnel and staged a dharna on Saturday after she was barred from visiting the area. She, however, said: "If the district administration really wanted, then it would had not allowed the violence."

Earlier on Saturday, the Uttar Pradesh Police had confirmed nine arrests were made in the case. In a tweet, they said that a complaint was filed at the Kasganj police station and that efforts are being undertaken to arrest the other accused with the help of a special team. Meanwhile, Kasganj police said in a statement that two FIRs have been lodged in Kotwali police station against 26 men, The Times of India reported. Out of these, nine were named while the rest were unidentified.

The Times of India quoted sources as claiming that they spotted men with petrol bottles near Ghantaghar and Nadrai gate area. It further reported that at least three shops owned in Ghantaghar were set on fire, while two buses were vandalised in Nadrai gate. The police then rushed to control the situation in the area.

"Anti-social elements on Saturday tried to set on fire a small shop on the city's outskirts... Some of the anti-social elements have been taken into custody, while others were chased away," Additional DG (Law and Order) Anand Kumar said.

"Our main job at this point of time is to ensure that along with normal law and order situation, brotherhood among communities also remain intact," Kumar told reporters.

He added the police was trying to make people "understand communal bonhomie". "The situation is under control, and will remain so. Sufficient police personnel have been deployed."

 Violence, arson keep Uttar Pradeshs Kasganj on edge; 49 arrested day after communal clashes kill one

A bus set on fire by a group of people who went on a rampage after the cremation of a young man killed on Friday in Kasganj. PTI

Superintendent of Police, Kasganj, Sunil Kumar Singh, said: "Anti-social elements had set two shoe shops afire in Ghantghar market, and fire brigade was pressed into action.

"Apart from this one utensil shop was set afire by anti-social elements. A bus was also damaged by anti-social element, who set it afire. Fire brigade was called to douse the flames."

Fire brigade personnel were deployed to douse the fires. A strong posse of RAF and PAC personnel have intensified vigil in the district, whose borders have been sealed to stop elements detrimental to peace from sneaking into the city.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday evening, ADG Agra, Ajay Anand, said: "As many as 39 preventive arrests have been made for violating Section 144 of the CrPC and nine persons have been arrested under sections of IPC."

The details of one more arrest was not immediately clear.

Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya described the violence as unfortunate, and said the people behind it would not go unpunished.

But Samajwadi Party spokesperson Sunil Singh 'Sajan' demanded more than just assurance from the state government.

"The Uttar Pradesh government must act tough on the anti-social elements, so that this acts as a deterrent for others."

Uttar Pradesh Congress spokesperson Virendra Madan suggested the violence was connected to Lok Sabha polls, due in 2019.

"The state government must show seriousness and control the situation at the earliest... Is there any possible link of this violence with 2019 Lok Sabha elections for polarisation?"

The communal clash had erupted on Friday during the 'Tiranga Yatra' carried out by around 36 local volunteers of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

While passing through a locality of another community, the locals showed them signs of disapproval. The rally had reached the Mathura-Bareilly highway near the Bilram Gate area when some unidentified people hurled stones at them. A heated argument followed, which soon turned violent.

The district administration imposed restrictions and deployed additional police force following the clashes on Friday. Over two dozen troublemakers from both communities were detained then.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jan 28, 2018 09:16:00 IST