Agra: It was at late at night when a police inspector, heading home after work, was attacked and his motorcycle set on fire on Saturday. Earlier in the day, a group of about 300 people surrounded the police station in Fatehpur Sikri, 40 km from Agra. About 20 policemen within the station were beaten. The crowd became violent a little after the mediator, local BJP legislator Udaybhan Singh left the spot.
- Bajrang Dal and Hindu Yuva Vahini involved, say some cops
- Latter is outfit formed by Yogi Adityanath a few years ago
- A policeman's bike set on fire. Outfits named deny charges
The reason for the violence: the police had dared to register a case against nine men with alleged links to various saffron outfits, including Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal, for assaulting and looting a Muslim vegetable trader who was returning to Fatehpur Sikri of Rs 45,000 in and a gold chain. He is now admitted in a hospital in Agra.
The angry mob protested outside the police station, demanding the police cancel the case against the alleged attackers and suspend the inspector who had filed it. “Some Bajrang Dal people started it and we are examining other groups… We arrested five people,” said Nidhi Gupta, the Sub-Divisonal Magistrate.
Hours later, the men arrested for the attack on the police station including Jagmohan Chahal, reportedly a youth leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, were moved to a police station in Agra in an attempt to diffuse the tension. But things got a lot worse at the new location. Three hundred men tried to force their way in and free the detainees by overpowering the police, which says that among the mob were members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, the youth outfit founded by Yogi Adityanath, now the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
"This group of Hindu Yuva Vahini anti-social elements assaulted a policeman by pelting stones and also tried to break in to the lockups causing injuries to policemen” said Vinay Kumar Mishra, senior police officer of the Sadat Bazar police station in Agra.
“The mob saw a policeman coming their way after they were forced to disperse. The mob then bashed the policeman, set his motorcycle ablaze and took his service revolver,” he said. None people were arrested for this new eruption of violence.
So a total of 14 people have been arrested for the attacks on the police stations in Fatehpur Sikri and Agra. And a case has been filed against 300 unknown right-wing activists for both the cases, though the nine people initially named in the FIR filed by the Muslim vegetable trader are free.
"The police filed a fake case against us in Fatehpur Sikri. Our people were falsely framed and were hit badly,” said Sunil Parashar, the Regional Vice President of the VHP. When he was asked about being among those named in the case or FIR, he said, “Our whole organization is overlooking this issue with a lot of interest. We don't fear any case, we can die serving our religion, society and country"
All this happened on the day when Sulkhan Singh took over as the new head of police in Uttar Pradesh and promised strict action against vigilantism and Uttar Pradesh's notorious goondaism or lawlessness.