24 dead as squatters wreak havoc in Mathura
Attackers used women and children as a shield, shot dead an SP and an SHO during an eviction drive; 320 held
Mathura: Twenty-four people, including an SP and an SHO, were killed in yesterday’s massive clash between police and members of a cult sect who had encroached on government land here, even as tension prevailed in the area with police seizing a large cache of ammunition from the site and arresting 320 people. The clash broke out on Thursday evening when police were trying to evict illegal occupants of a plot in Jawahar Bagh on the directions of the Allahabad High Court.
Several huts caught fire during the clash between police and encroachers from Jawahar Bagh on Thursday. Pics/AFP and PTI
While the two policemen were shot dead, 11 others were burnt to death due to cylinder blasts. The rest succumbed to the injuries sustained during the violence. The encroachers set their huts on fires where bombs, explosives and gas cylinders were stored, before retreating from the site. Sources also claimed that the protestors used children and women as a shield before launching the all-out assault on the cops.
Cops carry an injured personnel to safety
A probe has been ordered by the divisional commissioner of Mathura into the violence at Jawahar Bagh where nearly 3,000 people had illegally set up camp on an over 260-acre plot for the last two years. Meanwhile, the Centre sought a report from the Uttar Pradesh government on the incident, while Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Yadav and assured the state government of all necessary help.
DGP Javed Ahmed (right), along with other officers, take part in SHO Santosh Kumar Yadav’s funeral procession
According to Director General of Police Javed Ahmed, there was ‘unprovoked’ firing by encroachers, who pelted stones and attacked the policemen with lathis as they arrived at the site for a recce to carry out the eviction, leading to the death of Superintendent of Police (SP) Mukul Dwivedi and Station House Officer (SHO), Farah, Santosh Yadav.
Police display the arms recovered from Jawarhar Bagh
“The leaders of the sect Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi — Ram Vraksha Yadav, Chandan Gaur, Rakesh Gupta and others will be booked under the NSA Act,” Ahmed told during a press conference.
Meanwhile, district Chief Medical Officer Vivek Mishra said the two policemen were killed in the firing by the encroachers.
The obscure Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi that shot to limelight after the violence is a little known cult group claiming to be followers of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The group has been making weird demands like removal of the President, the PM and the Indian currency. They also want 40 litre of petrol and 60 litre of diesel for Rs 1.
CM orders probe
Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav yesterday ordered a commissioner-level inquiry, even as the BJP said the violence showed ‘complete breakdown of admin-istration and law and order’ in the state and demanded a CBI probe. “This is a serious matter and will be investigated at the Commissioner-level. All those found guilty will be brought to justice,” he said.
Questioning the law and order situation in UP, where elections are due next year, the Opposition yesterday cornered Akhilesh Yadav. They even alleged that encroachers were enjoying political patronage. While BSP supremo Mayawati demanded government’s resignation, BJP sought a CBI probe and claimed the incident reflected the ‘lawlessness’ in the state. The Congress party said it was time that the SP government ‘came out of its slumber’.
BJP left red-faced
BJP was left red-faced when Mathura MP Hema Malini uploaded her photographs on Twitter during a movie shoot in Mumbai even as her party launched a scathing attack on the UP government. However, she quickly deleted her posts and later condoled the death of an SP and SHO in the Mathura incident.
In an attempt to downplay the Mathura incident, the ruling SP yesterday asserted that the rioters involved in the violence were ‘outsiders’. “They were not local people. They had come from Bihar and MP and had gathered at the park belonging to the state government,” PWD Minister Shivpal Yadav said.
No of country-made pistols confiscated
No of rifles recovered from the protestors
No of live cartridges seized from the site