Two killed in communal violence in Saharanpur, curfew clamped
SAHARANPUR: Two persons were on Saturday killed and at
least 12 others injured as violent clashes broke out between two communities
over a land dispute in this western Uttar Pradesh district with mobs indulging
in brick batting and arson, prompting authorities to clamp curfew.
“Harish Kochar, a traders’ leader, and an unidentified
person have been killed in the clashes. A policeman has sustained bullet injury
in the clashes and has been referred to PGI in a serious condition,”
Commissioner, Saharanpur, Tanveer Zafar Ali said.
Police used force and fired rubber bullets to control
the situation as mobs went on rampage setting ablaze a number of shops. He said
that prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC have been invoked in the
district and curfew has been clamped in six areas.
Tension prevailed in the district and a large contingent
of security personnel including those of police, Provincial Armed Constabulary
(PAC) and Rapid Action Force (RAF) has been deployed in the area and
paramilitary forces have also been called.
“As per the
information received so far there was a dispute over land between two
communities which escalated this morning,” Additional Director General of
Police (Law and Order) Mukul Goel said. He said curfew has been clamped
following the clashes. The dispute escalated when members of one community
started construction work at the site in Kutubsher area in the wee hours this
morning, leading to violent clashes.
UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav directed senior home
department officials to strictly handle the situation in the two areas. “A
continuous monitoring of the situation in Saharanpur and Moradabad is being
done by senior police and government officials,” Principal Secretary
(Information) Navneet Sehgalsaid.
“The CM has directed Principal Secretary (Home) to
deal with the Saharanpur situation strictly. He has directed that there must be
no laxity at any level and law and order must be maintained at any cost,” he
Meanwhile, both the sides indulged in heavy brick
batting, arson and opened fire and there were reports of several shops being
gutted in the clash, police said. In a bid to control the situation, police
used force and fired rubber bullets. A dozen people have been arrested for
inciting violence over the land dispute.
Even as curfew has been clamped, sporadic incidents of
clashes were reported and tension prevails. The ADG said senior officers were
camping in the area. Meanwhile, traffic on the national highway connecting
Ambala was thrown out of gear as protestors went on the rampage.
Situation is also tense in Moradabad where BJP has
announced a visit to Kanth area. BJP alleged that its senior leaders were
either detained or prevented from reaching Kanth. Clashes had erupted between
BJP workers and the police in Kanth on July 4 over holding of a mahapanchayat
called by the party to protest removal of a loudspeaker from a temple in
Akbarpur village, which led to communal tension in the area.