Permission Denied, But Rahul Gandhi 'Firm' on Visiting Riot-hit Saharanpur
Gandhi’s scheduled visit comes in the wake of a visit to the village by Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, who lashed out at the Yogi Adityanath-led state government for failing to maintain law and order in the state
New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh police on Friday denied permission to Congress vice-President Rahul Gandhi to visit the riot-hit Saharanpur district in western UP. The Gandhi scion was on Saturday scheduled to visit Shabbirpur village, where Dalit houses were torched on May 5.
Gandhi’s scheduled visit comes in the wake of a visit to the village by Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, who lashed out at the Yogi Adityanath-led state government for failing to maintain law and order in the state. In a major embarrassment for UP police, fresh clashes had broken out in Shabbirpur during the BSP chief’s visit, amidst heavy police cover.
Following the clashes on May 23 and 24, which left two people dead and dozens injured, Saharanpur district was placed under CrPC Section 144 (prohibitory orders). Internet and instant messaging services in the district continue to be suspended since the role of social media was key in fanning the riots. The Senior Superintendent and District Magistrate of Saharanpur, in addition to the DIG and the Divisional Commissioner, were transferred out of the district. The situation continues to be tense.
Speaking to local media after taking charge, newly-appointed Saharanpur SSP Babloo Kumar on Thursday evening said, “We want to bring an end to all the rumours that have been circulating in the village. Only those who are guilty will be punished, not innocent citizens. We will take strict action against all those responsible for spreading the violence.”
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Kumar replaced SSP Subhash Chandra Dubey, who was suspended on May 24 in the wake of clashes in the district.
Violence first broke out in Saharanpur about 40 days ago following a procession to mark Ambedkar Jayanti. On May 5, a person was killed and 15 people were injured in clashes between two communities.
About a dozen police vehicles were set ablaze and 12 policemen were injured on May 9.
On May 23, another person was shot dead and two others were wounded, following which the government suspended the SSP and district magistrate and transferred the divisional commissioner and the deputy inspector general of police.
The Centre has sent 400 anti-riot police personnel to Saharanpur to help the state restore peace in the region.
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