Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today broke his silence on Kasganj communal clashes promising stringent action against the culprits, while the Centre sought a report from his government on the violence that left one dead and at least two others grievously injured. “Our government is committed to providing security to each and every citizen. Anarchy has no place in the state,” Adityanath told mediapersons here. He said strict action would be taken against the perpetrators of violence and asserted that none of the guilty would be allowed to go scot free. The strife-hit western UP town appeared limping back to normal with the administration claiming to have foiled an attempt by miscreants to foment fresh trouble by damaging a dome-like structure on the wall of an Eidgah. Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Giriraj Singh, meanwhile, waded into the row over the clashes claiming that the media would have chosen a “different” line if the youth killed was from the minority community. Another BJP hardliner Vinay Katiyar stoked a controversy blaming “those who support Pakistan” for the killing of the youth.
Last week, at least three shops, two buses and a car were torched after a youth, Chandan Gupta, was killed in clashes following stone-pelting by a mob on a motorcycle rally taken out to celebrate the Republic Day. As many as 118 people were arrested in connection with the violence. The Union Home ministry today sought a comprehensive report from the state government on the incidents and steps taken to restore peace. The UP government has also been asked to provide details of the steps taken to punish the culprits, an official said.
Union Minister Giriraj Singh said that he felt the violence was pre-planned. “Had the deceased been Mohammad Ismaayil instead of Chandan Gupta, there would be been a different debate in the media…We have to change this mindset,” Giriraj Singh told reporters. The Union minister said he felt the Kasganj incident was “pre-planned”, adding that the Adityanath government would not spare anyone involved.
He also referred to Bareilly District Magistrate Raghvendra Vikram Singh’s comments on Facebook that appeared to blame right-wing groups for provoking communal clashes. “I have come to know that a bureaucrat made some remarks on why some are raising ‘Pakistan Murdabad’ slogans. I want to ask why not raise Pakistan Murdabad slogan. We raise this slogan as Pakistan kills our soldiers and is involved in spreading cross-border terrorism,” the minister said.
UP Power minister Shrikant Sharma said the job of administrative officials is to ensure that peace and harmony prevails and the system is in order. “They should refrain from making such comments,” he said. The DM’s now-deleted post had said a “strange trend” that had begun of late was to visit Muslim-majority areas and raise slogans against Pakistan. “Why? Are they (Muslims) Pakistanis?” The same thing had happened in Khailam village of Bareilly. Then stones were thrown, FIRs lodged,” the officer’s post had said.
He later clarified in another post that his earlier comments pertained to the law and order problem that erupted in Bareilly during the Kanwar Yatra. “I had hoped there will be academic discussion but unfortunately it had taken a different turn…It seems that many people have a problem with this (post). My intention was not to harm anyone. Our moral and administrative responsibility is to improve the communal atmosphere…Our Muslims are our brothers…of our blood…Our DNA is one and same,” he said in a new post.
BJP MP Katiyar told a news channel that those who “support Pakistan” were behind the violence in Kasganj. “Earlier, there were no communal clashes in Kasganj district as all lived in harmony. But it has come to light that there are some miscreants who support Pakistan and will go to any extent to denigrate the tricolour. They need to be dealt with strictly,” he said.
Katiyar claimed that Gupta, who died of a bullet injury, was killed by the “supporters of Pakistan”. “Nothing like this had happened in the state under Yogi Adityanath’s government, this is a first such incident,” Katiyar asserted expressing confidence that action will be taken.
BJP MLA from Kasganj Devendra Singh Rajput, in a letter to Adityanath, demanded that Gupta be accorded the status of a martyr. He said the killers of the youth should be tried for treason and strict punishment given to them. “Two family members of the deceased should be given jobs. A traffic roundabout about should be named after him and his bust size statue should be installed there,” he demanded.
Stray incidents of violence were reported from Kasganj which continued to be tense with a heavy deployment of RAF and PAC personnel to keep a check on trouble makers. Some miscreants tried to create trouble by damaging a dome-like structure on the wall of an Eidgah in Amanpur, 25 km from the district headquarters but the police and administration controlled the situation immediately, District Magistrate RP Singh told reporters.
A shopkeeper’s store was burnt down in the communal violence-hit district last night. Kasganj SP Piyush Srivastava said notices pertaining to attachment of properties of the accused have been pasted on their the houses. Inspector General of Police of Aligarh Sanjeev Gupta said that police was conducting raids on the houses of the accused. “A 9-mm pistol, crude bomb and one double-barrel gun were recovered from the house of one of the accused,” Gupta said. A group of eunuchs also held a protest today over police picking one of their leaders, Pooja, for interrogation. Later, the protest was called off after she was let off by the police in the afternoon, SP Piyush Srivastava said.
Meanwhile, a middle-aged person, Rahul Upadhyay, today scotched rumours being spread on the social media that he was killed in clashes. “One of my friends informed me about rumours on the social media about me getting killed during the violence, but I was not present in Kasganj. I had gone to my village and am absolutely fine,” Upadhyay said.
The UP government has come under fire over the clashes with even Governor Ram Naik terming the Kasganj violence a “blot” on the state. Opposition parties have also attacked the state government over the clashes.