Even as the police claimed to have arrested nine persons, the situation in the riot-hit town of Kasganj in Uttar Pradesh remained tense with two state roadways buses and about half a dozen shops and kiosks torched by miscreants on Saturday.
Communal violence erupted in the central UP town on the Republic Day on Friday when a ‘tiranga yatra,’ led by VHP and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) volunteers riding motorcycles, was reportedly pelted with stones when it passed through a Muslim-dominated locality. Though the cause of provocation is officially not known, reports said that an altercation had ensued between the two groups which led to clashes.
Not withstanding the strong police presence, several incidents of clashes and arson were reported till the evening on Friday with several rounds of fire reportedly exchanged by the rioters. The Rapid Action Force (RAF) was deployed in Kasganj on Friday to bring the situation under control. The RAF staged a flag march.
Incidents of violence and arson followed the cremation of Chandan Gupta on Saturday. The youth was killed in the cross-firing between the warring groups on Friday. It is said that some miscreants returning from the cremation ground set ablaze two buses and vandalised about half a dozen shops. Two other persons identified as Naushad and Prince, who were injured in the clashes and firing, have been shifted to hospitals in Aligarh and Etah.
Meanwhile, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Sadhvi Prachi, who was on her way to Kasganj with her supporters, was stopped by the police in Sikandrarau on Etah-Kasganj road. Incensed at the keys of the vehicle in which the sadhvi was travelling being taken away by the Sikandrarau police, Prachi and her supporters staged a dharna at the Pant crossing. Reports said a ‘chakka jam’ had been staged on Aligarh-Etah and Mathura-Bareilly highway and the police and district officials were trying to get the road blockade lifted.