Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday imposed Section 144 in Saharanpur to clamp down on violence in the area. The state government also decided to suspend mobile internet and messaging services. Officials have said that the move was taken with an aim to maintain peace and ensure law and order in the area. The government has been trying to bring back normalcy in the strife-torn western town of the state. But situation worsened when a Dalit man was killed and several injured in violence on Tuesday. Also, violence erupted in another area when some gunmen shot and seriously injured a member of the upper-caste Thakur community, according to a PTI report. Following this, the Yogi government on Wednesday suspended the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Saharanpur Subhash Chandra Dubey and District Magistrate (DM) NP Singh over their inability to control the situation after fresh violence.
Section 144 of CrPC prohibits any assembly of five or more people in an area where it has been imposed. NP Singh, the outgoing district magistrate, said in an order, “In view of the present situation, CRPC section 144 has been invoked to control law and order. All telecom operators have been asked to suspend all forms of mobile internet and messaging services until further orders.” Additionally, PTI cited an official spokesperson saying that the Deputy Inspector General(DIG) and Divisional Commissioner of the area have also been transferred. SSP Dubey, according to ANI, on Wednesday morning assured that 24 people have been arrested so far in connection with the fresh caste violence between Dalit and Rajput communities.
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According to various agency reports, the fresh violence had started after BSP supremo Mayawati’s visit to Saharanpur to attend a public meeting in Shabbirpur village. A person was killed and at least 13 others were injured in violence that hit the area on Tuesday evening. Earlier in the day, Mayawati had attacked the Yogi Adityanath government for the violence in the area. She alleged that ‘casteist forces’ in the BJP and RSS are one of the main reasons behind such caste-based violence in the society. She also said the neglect on the part of the administration was the reason that BJP supporters could target Dalits and unleash violence in the area.
All the clashes in the district had begun on May 5. A Dalit group had objected to a procession of Thakurs in Shabbirpur village to mark the birth anniversary of Rajput king Maharana Pratap, according to a PTI report. In the ensuing violence, one person was reportedly killed and 15 others were injured. According to reports, Dalits allege that upper caste Thakurs had earlier prevented them from installing a statue of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar on the premises of the Ravidas temple inside the village.