LUCKNOW: Two cases have been registered against the BJP's Lok Sabha member Raghav Lakhanpal and a dozen others for a clash between two communities in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur on Thursday, allegedly after a group of people close to the lawmaker insisted on taking out a procession to mark Ambedkar Jayanti this year that has been banned for years to keep peace in the area. Later, the 42-year-old lawmaker also marched to the Saharanpur police chief Love Kumar's official residence to protest. A CCTV was damaged by the mob here.
- Lawmaker accused by police of leading procession without permission
- Police stopped the procession after it led to a communal clash
- Angry workers attacked the district police chief's house in protest
In the national capital Delhi, the Indian Police Service Association that was celebrating the Civil Services Day called the attack on Mr Kumar's house unfortunate. "It demoralises the officer, traumatises family. Hope government upholds morale of police," the IPS Association tweeted. "My children and some guests were at home when the BJP workers attacked. Naturally, they were scared. It was natural," Mr Kumar said.
Today, in his first address to the media after taking charge, new UP police chief Sulkhan Singh said, "Will ensure action is taken. No one will be spared. As far as the question of attack on police is concerned, we are prepared for this in our training. We know it happens in the kind of duty we perform, will take action."
The violence comes against the backdrop of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath repeatedly telling his party cadres not to indulge in violence and get out of the habit of taking to the streets to protest. This was something that made sense as long as the party was in the opposition. As the ruling party, the saffron-robed Chief Minister told party cadres in Jhansi, they should only be taking the government's schemes to the people.
It is a message that hadn't reached Saharanpur, the western Uttar Pradesh district about 200 km from the national capital. On Friday, the district was peaceful but it continues to be tense over the clashes a day earlier.
The locality has a history of communal clashes over the Ambedkar Jayanti procession, prompting the district administration to refuse permission when the BJP lawmaker sought permission. He nevertheless went ahead with the procession. Nobody knows who hurled the first stone; both sides blame each other. But soon, the two groups pelted stones at each other. Some say there was firing too but the Meerut Inspector General Anand Kumar said he hadn't heard about the firing yet. "I can promise strict action will be taken against the guilty," he said.
"A peaceful rally was taken out to mark BR Ambedkar's birth anniversary which was attacked by a group here. The MP was injured in the incident," a spokesperson of the MP told PTI.
Police said about 300 people had participated in the violence and attempts were being made to identify them. The cases have been registered for rioting, hurting a public servant to deter him from doing his duty and endangering personal safety of others.