After Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik termed the Kasganj communal clashes as a “blot” on the state, now Bareilly’s District Magistrate (DM) Raghvendra Vikram Singh had uploaded a Facebook post saying, that it has become a “trend” for people to forcefully enter Muslim localities and raise anti-Pakistan slogans.
Singh’s remark came two days after violence which erupted in Kasganj, during a motorcycle-Tiranga rally by VHP and ABVP volunteers on Mathura-Bareilly highway on the occasion of Republic Day.
According to a Times of India report, the district magistrate wrote a message on Facebook: “Ajab rivaz ban gaya hai. Muslim mohallo me jabrdasti julus le jao aur Pakistan murdabad ke nare lagao. Kyon bhai, ve Pakistani hain kya? Yehi yahan Bareilly mein Khailam mein hua tha. Fir patharav hua, mukadme likhe gaye… (A very strange trend has started of late. Take out processions by force through Muslim dominated localities and raise anti-Pakistan slogans. Why? Are these people Pakistani? The same thing had happened in Khailam village of Bareilly. Then stones were pelted, FIRs lodged).”
In another post, Singh asked why people never raise slogans against China, which is “a bigger enemy”.
Maintaining that the social fabric of the country is being torn apart by fringe elements, Singh said, “Such fringe groups are coming up in every part of the state, taking the same ugly route to instigate people of the minority community by forcefully entering their locality in the name of nationalism. These people don’t care about the fabric of our mixed culture and brotherhood.”
However, Singh’s posts were not available on his Facebook profile on Tuesday morning.
Earlier, UP Governor described the clashes as “shameful”, and said that this was for the first time in the last 9-10 months that such an incident occurred in the state.
Under fire over the violence, the UP government went into damage control mode and shunted out Kasganj Superintendent of Police Sunil Kumar Singh to “a less significant post”, according to officials.
Piyush Srivastava was appointed the new Kasganj SP, officials said. Singh was sent to Police Training School, Meerut, in the same rank, they said.
The state authorities also presented a cheque of Rs 20 lakh to family members of Chandan Gupta, who was killed in the violence.
At least three shops, two buses and a car were torched after Gupta was killed in clashes following stone- pelting by a mob on a motorcycle rally taken out to celebrate Republic Day.
Volunteers of organisations like the Vishva Hindu Parishad, Hindu Mahasabha and ABVP had taken out the rally – ‘Tiranga Yatra’. After passing through the Kotwali area, they were about to pass through a Muslim dominated area when some people objected to its passage.
This resulted in heated exchange of words and eventually escalated to firing in which Gupta lost his life, according to officials.
As many as 118 people have been arrested in connection with the violence following which security forces are maintaining strict vigil.
District authorities in Kasganj, said the situation was returning to normal even as more arrests were being made in connection with the violence.
The state authorities also presented a cheque of Rs 20 lakh to family members of Chandan Gupta, who was killed in the violence that followed the initial skirmishes during the ‘Tiranga Yatra’ brought out by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) – an affiliate of the RSS.
The Uttar Pradesh government has termed the violence as a “political conspiracy” while the main opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) has termed it “ominous and unfortunate” and has appealed for calm.