Saharanpur tense after Bhim Army activist shot dead; internet services suspended

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New Delhi | Updated: May 10, 2018 11:33:58 AM

An activist of Bhim Army was shot dead in Ramnagar area of Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday afternoon. The deceased has been identified as Sachin. He was 24.

Saharanpur, Bhim Army, Saharanpur violence, Uttar PradeshPolice force deployed at Ramnagar area after death of Bhim Army leader’s brother in Saharanpur on Thursday. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

An activist of Bhim Army was shot dead in Ramnagar area of Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday afternoon. The deceased has been identified as Sachin, brother of Bhim Army’s district unit president Kamal Walia. He was 24. The killing comes amidst reported tensions between the Dalit and Thakur communities over Maharana Pratap Jayanti celebrations.

According to the police, the killing took place at around 12:15 pm on Wednesday near Sachin’s house in Ramnagar locality. The local administration said that they have suspended internet services in the region as a precautionary measure. Last year, tension had gripped the district following an incident of violence between the two groups over Maharana Pratap jayanti celebrations. One person was killed in violence last year.

Sachin’s cousin Abhishek told The Indian Express that he was on the other side of a street in Ramnagar when he was shot dead. He said that Sachin was rushed to a hospital where doctors declared him brought dead. “Our family and Bhim Army members are in the hospital,” he said. Soon after the news of murder was spread, activists of Bhim Army gathered outside the hospital and demanded action against Thakurs.

Police said that an autopsy is yet to be conducted. Police said that an FIR was filed on Wednesday evening against five persons following complaints by the family of the victim. It said that all five belong to the Thakur community.

Sharad Sachan, DIG, Saharanpur Range, said that officials are trying to ascertain the details and recreate the sequence of events. Sachan said that no eyewitnesses have been found so far. The official added that no clashes have been reported and no weapon has been seized.

Sachan said that heavy police personnel were deployed in the area in view of the violence that had rocked the vicinity last year on the occasion of Maharana Pratap Jayanti’s celebrations.

Police said that the bullet was fired at Sachin from a close range. When police reached the spot, some residents were already cleaning the blood stains.

A section of the Thakur community had sought permission from the administration to organise an event to mark Mahrana Pratap Jayanti. But their application was turned down initially. Sachan said that when Bhim Army opposed the Thakur community’s request, the administration at the last minute granted permission to the Thakurs to go ahead with their plan. Sachin said that an event was organised inside a building and adequate amount of police officials were deployed.

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