Protesters on Saturday tried to burn down a police outpost at Yateemkhana area of Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, as agitation against the new citizenship law and NRC went on for the second successive day, a day after two protesters died of bullet injuries.
Ashish Kumar Awasthi, the guard at the police outpost, said a crowd of hundreds tried to overpower him and two other police officials posted there. “They tried to burn down the outpost, but we stood strong. They were throwing big stones and bricks at us; then more police officials came to the rescue,” he said.
At 8.30 pm on Saturday, when The Sunday Express went there, the police outpost stood damaged, its windows and doors broken. Several vehicles parked outside were completely burnt.
The road leading to the outpost was strewn with glass shards, bricks and stones. There was heavy police deployment.
“One constable has received bullet injury on his shoulder and is critical. He is being treated,” SP (Rural), Kanpur, Pradyumn Singh, who was patrolling the area on Saturday night, said.
Asked about the sequence of events, Singh said, “Protesters had gathered in large numbers. They indulged in arson and burnt down around 20 vehicles. No protester has received any major injury; only teargas and rubber bullets were used to disperse the crowd.”
An officer who did want to be identified said, “The protest was initially peaceful. Then they wanted to take the march to Babupurwa area, where two people died on Friday during the protests. District officials, senior police officers and clerics tried to convince them to call it off, but they did not listen. Then, it turned violent…. Some protesters threw petrol bombs at the outpost.”
ADG, Kanpur zone, Prem Prakash, who was present near the site, said the situation is under control. “Yesterday, there were two deaths in Babupurwa. Their bodies were handed over to family members. Today, people tried to gather and take a march to Babupurwa.”
Prakash said 40 people were arrested on Friday, and seven on Saturday. Among the arrested are an MLA and a former MLA, he said.
Earlier in the day, around 3.30 pm, locals in Babupurwa area awaited the bodies of Mohammad Aftab (22) and Mohammad Saif (25), who died of bullet injuries on Friday during the violence near Eidgah mosque in Nayi Basti.
Their family members said the two were not part of the protests, and they do not know who fired on them.
Mohammad Raees (49), an uncle of Aftab, said the 22-year-old had gone to receive payment from his contractor for work done through the week as a daily wager.
Aftab’s father had died five years ago due to illness and the youth is survived by mother Nagma (51) and six siblings.
The victim’s brother, Mohammad Shadab (18), said Aftab was shot in the chest and the bullet left from the other side. “We don’t know who shot him. His body is supposed to come home; it will then go to the graveyard,” the teen said.
In Munshipurwa, under Babupurwa police station and around 1 km from Aftab’s home, a crowd had gathered at second victim Saif’s home. The area seemed tense, with heavy police deployment.
Saif’s father Mohammad Taqi, 54, a house painter, said “We have been told that he received two bullets — one in the hand and another on stomach. I saw the body yesterday.”
His mother Qamar Jahaan, 50, told mourning relatives, “He had gone for Friday prayers and was returning when he was shot.”
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