Leaving the BJP government in UP red-faced, Governor Ram Naik described the communal violence triggered by an unauthorised Republic Day rally in Kasganj as a “matter of shame” and a “blot” on the state.
Within hours of the Governor’s remarks in Lucknow, the state government transferred Kasganj SP Sunil Kumar Singh to the police training school in Meerut. In Kasganj, no further incident of violence was reported. Police have so far arrested 31 people and detained 82 others during the course of investigations.
Speaking to reporters, the Governor said: “Nishchit taur par Kasganj mein jo hua, woh kisi ko shobha dayak nahin… nishchit taur par wahan pe jo ghatnayein hui, Uttar Pradesh ke liye ek kalank ke roop mein hui hain (Certainly, whatever has happened in Kasganj does not show anyone in good light… certainly, the incidents that have happened there, they have become a blot for Uttar Pradesh).”
Naik said the government is conducting an inquiry into the incident and expressed hope strict action would be taken. “I want the government to investigate the incident in detail… no such incident had taken place in Uttar Pradesh over the last eight-nine months… It’s a matter of shame for all of us that such an incident has occurred,” he said.
“The government has started taking steps (to contain the situation) and I want the government to take enough steps to ensure that such violence is not witnessed anywhere in Uttar Pradesh,” said Naik.
Speaking to The Indian Express, IG Aligarh Sanjeev Gupta confirmed that Kasganj SP Singh had been replaced by Piyush Srivastava, who was in charge of the training school. “The transfer was prompted due to the law-and-order situation. The new SP has joined with immediate effect,” said Gupta.
The IG said police have detained 82 persons, of whom 49 are in preventive detention, and arrested 31 others. No arrest has been made in the killing of 22-year-old Abhishek Gupta in the clash on Friday, he said.
Friday’s clash was followed by a second spate of violence on Saturday during which several shops owned by Muslims were gutted in retaliation to Gupta’s death.
Police have lodged five FIRs so far, including one against four persons for rioting, another based on a complaint from Gupta’s father, and one on a complaint filed by the father of Naushad, who was shot in the leg.
“Search operations are being conducted to find those accused in the murder case and in the case of the riots,” said IG Gupta.
“One double-barrel gun, a single-barrel gun, a pistol, a country-made bomb and cartridges were recovered during raids while investigating allegations against those accused in the murder of Abhishek Gupta. We are awaiting forensic reports from labs in Agra and Lucknow,” said Gupta.
Asked about Gupta’s role, the IG said, “He was definitely not a bystander. But we haven’t been able to find any evidence of overt political affiliation. We are investigating the matter… The main accused in the murder case have been identified as (Kasganj residents) Salim, Wasim, Javed and Rashid.”
The police has also constituted an SIT, headed by SP (Crime) Etah OP Singh, which is probing CCTV footage from Baddunagar, where the murder took place. “In case there are any lapses by police, we will take necessary action. The SIT is probing to if the police had any indication about the rally, and if there was less deployment,” said Gupta.
He said police are also tracking the PCR calls made on Republic Day the police’s response.
On Sunday night, a house in Nanota Gali in Kasganj, owned by 50-year-old school principal Haseen Baig, caught fire. While the district administration claimed that the fire was due to “a short circuit”, Baig said, “I was not at the house at the time of the incident. But before leaving, I had switched off all electrical connections. I don’t think it was a short circuit and I believe that my house was intentionally targetted.”