With the situation remaining severely tense in Mathura following the violent clashes last night that led to the death of 14 people including two cops, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday spoke to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and assured him of complete help from the Centre.
“Spoke to UP CM Shri @yadavakhilesh and reviewed the situation in Mathura. I have also assured him of all possible help from the Centre. Anguished over the loss of lives in the incidents of violence in Mathura. May God gives strength to the bereaved families to bear the loss,” Rajnath said in a series of tweets.
Meanwhile, Akhilesh has asked the Director General of Police and the principal secretary home to reach Mathura to personally take stock of the situation.
The station house officer of the Farah police station Santosh Yadav and the Superintendent of Police (City) Mathura Mukul Dwivedi were killed when activists of Swadheen Bharat Subhash Sena (SBSS) opened fire at the police party that attempted to evict it from Jawahar Park late on Thursday evening.
According to Mathura police, two bullets hit Station Officer (Farah), Santosh Yadav, who was declared dead on arrival by doctors at Niyati Hospital. SP (City) Mukul Dwivedi, who was placed on ventilator support, succumbed to bullet injuries later, said doctors at the private hospital. Over 100 people, including the city magistrate Ram Araj Yadav, were also injured in the clash that lasted for almost four hours.
According to reports, the encroachers were from a semi-religious sect, who described themselves as “Satyagrahis”.
ADG (Law and Order) Daljeet Singh Chaudhary told the media that the protesters opened fire on the police and also lobbed grenades on the cops.
“Country-made guns, rifles, pistols & cartridges recovered from spot, search op underway. It was an unlawful assembly and they had explosives including grenades and pistols which they used to fire upon the police. They fired at police which was absolutely unprovoked. Strict action will be taken,” Chaudhary said.
Uttar Pradesh’s Director General of Police Javed Ahmed said that there was unprovoked firing from the members of an offshoot of the Jai Gurudev sect. He claimed that heavily armed men from the other side fired at the police and the latter had to resort to a baton charge and tear gas shelling and finally opened fire.
Calling the situation “tense”, Ahmed said reinforcements, including senior police officers, are being sent to the area.
The encroachers, who have been on a protest for two years, demand “cancellation of the elections” of the President and Prime Minister of India. They also want that diesel be sold at 60 litres a rupee and petrol at 40 litres a rupee. The existing currency, they also say, should be replaced.
According to police, members of this outfit and another smaller organisation, Swadheen Bharat Subhash Sena, had been staging demonstrations at Jawahar Bagh over the last two-and-a-half years. Among the other demands posted on their Facebook page are: “We demand all records relating to the ‘Ruler of the Nation’, law and order, and also the document of citizenship (which shows how we are citizens of the nation) to be made public.”
So far, police have been able to identify only one of the group’s leaders, Ram Vriksha Yadav, but have no further information about him or his associates.
The Uttar Pradesh Government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs.20 lakh each for the families of the martyred policemen.