A village head and three others were arrested on Sunday in connection with separate incidents of violence in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh last month. Uttar Pradesh Police also announced a reward of Rs 12,000 each for information on Chandrashekhar, the founder of Dalit outfit ‘Bhim Army’, and two others, Manjeet and Kamal, according to Additional SP (Saharanpur) Prabal Pratap Singh. Chandrashekhar is facing charges of inciting violence in Saharanpur and is evading arrest.
A police spokesperson in Lucknow said that the pradhan of Saharanpur’s Shabbirpur village, which witnessed caste-based violence last month, was arrested for allegedly inciting members of the Dalit community against the Thakurs. “On May 5, a Dalit group objected to a procession by Thakurs to mark the birth anniversary of Rajput king Maharana Pratap. This resulted in violence,” the spokesperson said.
Shivkumar, the pradhan, was the main accused who “instigated” the mob in his village, the spokesperson added. “Village pradhan of Shabbirpur Shivkumar allegedly incited the Dalits (against the Thakurs) and also provoked them to indulge in stone pelting,” he said.
In another case related to the Saharanpur violence, the police arrested three persons who had allegedly attacked a crowd and shot dead one person and injured another on May 23 after the visit of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati there. The people who had participated in Mayawati’s programme were returning to their homes when they were fired upon by anti-social elements in village Chandrapur Majbatta, the spokesperson said. “Ashish and Sachin were fired upon. Ashish died on the spot. A case in this reagrd was already lodged at Badhgam police station,” the spokesperson said.
The arrested have been identified as Lokesh alias Lukka, Raju alias Bilas Pundir and Sonu alias Sompal. “During interrogation, the accused said that they executed the killing along with their associates. The hunt for rest of the accused is going on,” the spokesperson said.
The police also booked a person for allegedly posting “false and misleading” messages on the social media about Shabbirpur village. “Satpal Kanwar has been booked for posting misleading messages and also for trying to raise funds through a bank account in the name of financial aid to Dalits,” SSP Bablu Kumar said.