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Illegal, Unscheduled ABVP Rally Leads to Communal Riots at Kasganj in UP; One Dead, One Injured

At least five shops belonging to a particular community were set ablaze this morning following the cremation of Chandan Gupta who died in firing on Friday.
Kasganj Violence

Fresh violence erupted this morning in Uttar Pradesh’s Kasganj district where communal tension began on Friday after some unidentified people hurled stones at an “unauthorised” ‘Tiranga Yatra’ allegedly being taken out by the the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to mark the Republic Day.

Despite imposition of a curfew, two buses were damaged and five shops belonging to a particular community were set ablaze following the cremation of Chandan Gupta who died in firing on Friday during the clash between two groups.

Despite the deployment of several companies of the Rapid action Force (RAF) and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) along with the local police, eyewitness claimed that rioters were spotted with petrol bottles near Ghantaghar and Nadrai Gate area.

“At least five shops owned by traders of a particular community in Ghantaghar area were set on fire, while two buses were vandalised in Nadrai Gate area on Mathura-Bareilly highway, after which the police rushed to control the situation,” a local told Newsclick requesting anonymity.


The trigger

Nearly 50 people, said a police officer, took out a bike rally from the Bilram Gate area to commemorate the Republic Day “without the permission of the district administration”. “They were raising some objectionable slogans, which were objected to by a group of people in Badu Nagar. This led to clashes between the two groups that finally resulted in the stone pelting. Following this, an exchange of bullets took place in which Chandan Gupta, 22, who was part of the bike rally, died after he was fired in the chest. He succumbed to injuries on the spot. A Muslim youth Noushad also received bullet injuries on his leg and has been admitted to a hospital in Aligarh,” he said on the condition of anonymity.

Footage shot at a Muslim-dominated Buddan colony at Balram Gate, where the clashes occurred on Friday before the violence took place, shows youths with the national flag shouting slogans ‘Hindustan Mein Rehna Hoga, Toh Vande Matram Kehna Hoga’ (If one wants to stay in India, he has to chant Vande Mataram).

A reserve police team was deployed on the spot and the violence was contained.

Fresh violence broke out this morning after people returning from the cremation of Chandan Gupta torched shops belonging to a particular community.

BJP MP Rajveer Singh attended the cremation that took place at a crematorium near Kali river, at Bakner in Kasganj district on Saturday morning.

Allegation and counter allegation

Singh told Newsclick that the “attack on the ‘Tiranga Yatra’ was planned. The youths were attacked with acid bottles, stones were pelted and shots were fired on them”.

When asked why the rally was taken out in the first place without police permission, he said, “Youths organise it every year in Kasganj city on the occasion of Republic Day, but this time they were stopped and attacked.”

“The attackers also raised anti-India slogans such as ‘Pakistan Zindabad’. We demand an investigation into the incident and arrest of all men involved in the violence,” he added.



The FIRs

Meanwhile, the police in a press statement has said that two FIRs have been registered in Kotwali police station against 26 men, including nine named.

“One FIR was filed by inspector Ripudaman Singh, SHO of Kotwali, against six named people under IPC sections 147, 148, 149, 307, 336, 436, 295, 427, 323, 504 and 7 CLA act. Another FIR was filed by Chandan Gupta’s father Sunil Gupta against 20 men, including three named under IPC sections 147, 148, 149, 341, 336, 307, 302, 504, 506, 124A and 3 national flag act. Till now, the police has arrested nine men,” said the police statement.

Heavy security deployment has been in place in Kasganj city. “Strict action will be taken against those who are engaged in violence and damaging private properties. The situation is under control,” said District Magistrate RP Singh.

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