February 4, 2018 3:38:46 am
The Bareilly police has written to the state government seeking prosecution sanction against 38 people, including 35 Muslims and three Hindus, for their alleged involvement in a communal clash following a kanwar yatra in Muslim-dominated Khailam village in the district’s Aliganj area last year.
The prosecution sanction was sought last week under IPC Section 153-A (promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony).
In a recent post on social media, Bareilly District Magistrate R V Singh had referred to this communal clash and had questioned the “trend” of entering Muslim localities and raising anti-Pakistan slogans to foment communal trouble. Singh had apologised and deleted the post.
Dharmendra Kumar, the investigating officer of the incident, who was also station officer of Aliganj police station till he was transferred a week agosaid the clash had occurred on July 21 last year. Kanwariyas had passed through Khailam to offer water at a temple — around 7 km from the village — amid protest by villagers.
Two cross-FIRs were lodged by the then SHO of Aliganj police station, C P Trivedi, against 29 Muslims and 14 Hindus, respectively. Both allege the involvement of more than 200 unnamed persons each.
While the first FIR spoke of the actual violence, the second FIR alleged that “the kanwariya pilgrims played loud music in spite of no permission and made provocative slogans inciting Muslim community. The police tried all measures to make the kanwariyas understand but they didn’t listen.”
After probing both the cases for over six months, Kumar has included six more names from the Muslim community, taking the total number of accused to 35. Regarding the other FIR, he claimed three Hindus named as accused were found guilty.
Bareilly SSP’s PRO Ashok Kumar confirmed that a request has been sent to the state government seeking prosecution sanction against the 38 accused.
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