After the Bareilly District Magistrate raised questions in a Facebook post over how the Kasganj violence was fomented, a government officer in Saharanpur district has posted about the Tiranga Yatra that preceded the incident, and said “bhagwa (saffron)” was behind the death of one person in it. On Saturday, after she was asked for an explanation, Rashme Varun, the Deputy Director (Statistics), Saharanpur division, removed her Facebook post.
Speaking to The Sunday Express, Varun said her use of the word bhagwa was wrong, but said her mistake was unintentional. She also reiterated that it couldn’t be established how Chandan Gupta, who died in Kasganj, had been killed. “I want to explain that in the crowd, when firing was going on, bullet fired by anybody could have hit the youth who died,” she said. Sixteen people have been arrested so far for the killing, including alleged main accused Saleem Javaid and Rahat Qureshi, who was arrested from Kanpur on Saturday.
In her post, which went viral on Saturday, Varun also talked about “bhagwa” taking over a rally held on Ambedkar Jayanti in Sadak Dudhli in Saharanpur district.
She wrote, “Toh yeh thi Kasganj ki Tiranga rally. Koi nayi baat nahin hai yeh. Ambedkar Jayanti par Saharanpur Sadak Dudhli mein bhi aisi hi rally nikali gayi thi. Jisme se Ambedkar gayab they, ya ye kahiye bhagwa rang mein vileen ho gaye they. Kasganj mein bhi yahi hua. Tiranga toh shavasan mein raha. Bhagwa dhwaj sheersh (aasan) par. Jo ladka mara gaya usey kisi dusare teesare samuday ne nahin mara. Usey kesari, safed aur hare rang ki aad lekar bhagwa ne khud mara (So, this was the Tiranga rally of Kasganj. There is nothing new here. On the day of Ambedkar Jayanti too, a similar rally was taken out through Saharanpur’s Sadak Dudhli, where Ambedkar was missing or, let’s say, immersed in the saffron colour. This is what happened in Kasganj. Tricolour remained absent and saffron flag was on top. The youth who died was not killed by any other community, but by saffron, taking shelter of the Tricolour).”
Varun added in her post, “Jo nahin bataya ja raha woh yeh ki… Abdul Hameed ki moorti ya tasveer pe Tiranga fehraney ki bajaaye is tathakathit Tiranga rally mein chalney ki zabardasti ki gayi, aur kesariya, safed, harey aur bhagwa rang pe laal rang bhari pad gaya (What is not being told here is that instead of the Tricolour being put on the statue or photo of martyr Abdul Hameed, force was used to participate in this so-called Tiranga rally, and in the end, the colour red overpowered the colours of saffron, white and green).”
Varun told The Sunday Express she wrote her post “around five-six days back”. “My intention was not to hurt anybody… I wrote the word ‘bhagwa’ by mistake but without any intention, and I apologise for my post.”
Saharanpur District Magistrate P K Pandey sought an explanation from Varun, after which she withdrew her post. Pandey said that while, as the Deputy Director (Statistics), Varun works under the Saharanpur commissioner, he had taken action as he was holding the charge of commissioner at present.
In a post on January 28, Bareilly DM R V Singh had said about the violence in Kasganj, “Ajab riwaz ban gaya hai. Muslim mohallo main julus le jao aur Pakistan murdabad ke nare lagao. Kyun bhai woh Pakistani hain kya (There is a strange new trend. Take out rallies in Muslim areas and raise slogans against Pakistan. Why, are they Pakistanis)?” Singh had also said that a similar incident had occurred in Khailam in Bareilly, after which there was stone-pelting and cases were registered.
After he was summoned to Lucknow, Singh had apologised and deleted his post.
Additional Superintendent of Police Om Prakash Singh, who is heading Special Investigation Team formed to investigate Kasganj violence, said 16 persons so far have been arrested in the murder case of Abhishek Gupta.
He added police are looking for 11 other accused in the case. Police had obtained attachment of property order from a local court to attach their properties.
The police had yet to start attachment of property process, he added.