A man was killed and another injured Friday in firing between two groups in UP’s Kasganj district during a communal clash over an unauthorised rally to mark Republic Day, officials said. According to police, Chandan Gupta (22) died after being hit on the chest by a bullet and Noushad was admitted to a hospital in neighbouring Aligarh district after being shot in the leg. Both groups hurled stones at each other in Kasganj town before shots were fired, police said.
Rakesh Kumar, Additional District Magistrate, Kasganj, said the “Tiranga Yatra” rally was taken out without permission from the administration. Arvind Kumar, principal secretary (Home), said the situation was under control. “Heavy police force has been deployed to ensure that the violence does not spread to other areas. Police are also conducting raids to trace the accused,” he said.
Ripudaman Singh, Station House Officer, Kasganj, said the clash occurred after a group in Badu Nagar objected to certain slogans raised by motorcycle-borne participants of the “Tiranga Yatra”, which had started from the Bilram Gate area. According to police, another trigger for the clash was an altercation in which a member of one group allegedly slapped a youth of the other.
The violence was contained after a team deployed for Republic Day celebrations at the Reserve Police lines, 16 km away, rushed to the spot. When contacted, BJP’s Kasganj district chief, Purendra Pratap Singh Solanki, denied allegations that his party was involved in the clash. “The victim, Chandan Gupta, did not belong to the BJP or any of its affiliated organisations. The Tiranga Yatra was taken out by local residents,” he claimed.
R P Singh, District Magistrate, Kasganj, said: “Our main priority is to ensure that peace is maintained and that the final rites of the deceased are completed peacefully. We will decide on further action tomorrow after consulting officials.” Mohar Singh Tomar, senior sub-inspector, Kasganj police station, said: “A few people have been detained at the station for questioning. So far, the victim’s family has not filed any complaint.”
Following the clash, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath issued an appeal through his official Twitter account for “peace and harmony” and directed the administration to “take strict action against miscreants”.