Fresh spell of violence kept Kasganj on the edge for the second day on Saturday. Five buses, two cars and five shops were torched and a place of worship along with a farmhouse owned by a local resident was vandalised soon after cremation of Chandan Gupta, the youth who was shot dead while two others were injured during violence on R-Day.
A total of 49 people were arrested for clashes that broke out between two communities during the 'Tiranga Yatra' taken out by some local youths from right-wing organisations on Friday morning in Kasganj city. Stones were allegedly pelted on members taking part in the procession following which shots were also fired at the youths who allegedly raised inflammatory slogans targeting another community.
Companies of RAF, PAC along with heavy police force have been deployed in the area to maintain law and order while the city limits have been cordoned off the police. Curfew has been clamped in the city. Large-scale violence on Saturday prompted authorities to shut school and colleges in the area as a precautionary measure.
Home secretary Arvind Kumar said, "Five companies of PAC and two of RAF along with additional police officers and force have been roped in from other districts of Agra zone."
"At least three shops in Ghantaghar area were set on fire, while five buses were vandalised in Nadraigate area on Mathura-Bareilly highway. A private farmhouse was vandalised in Gangeshwar colony after which police rushed to control the situation," said a resident.
"Police force has been deployed to maintain law and order in Kasganj city. Stringent action will be taken against those who are engaged in violence and damaging private properties. The situation is under control," district magistrate RP Singh said.
Additional director general (law and order) Anand Kumar said, "A total of 40 men were arrested for violating prohibitory orders in the district on Saturday."
Firebrand Hindutva leader Sadhvi Prachi was stopped in Hathras from visiting Kasganj on Saturday, following which she sat on a dharna.
Meanwhile, Kasganj police, in a press statement, claimed that two FIRs have been lodged in Kotwali police station against 26 men including nine named.
"One FIR was filed by inspector Ripudaman Singh, SHO of Kotwali, against six named person under IPC sections 147, 148, 149, 307, 336, 436, 295, 427, 323, 504 and 7 CLA act. Another FIR was filed by Chandan Gupta's father Sunil Gupta against 20 men including three named under IPC sections 147, 148, 149, 341, 336, 307, 302, 504, 506, 124A and 3 national flag act. Till now police have arrested nine men," Ajay Bhadoria, public relation officer of Kasganj police said.
BJP MP Rajveer Singh who attended Chandan Gupta's cremation persuaded the victim's family to cremate Chandan. The family who were demanding arrest of all the accused had initially refused to cremate Chandan.
Speaking to media, Singh said, "I urged the family to talk to chief minister Yogi Adityanath on the phone, and after his assurance, they agreed to cremate Chandan. The state government will pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the family."
Singh said, "Friday's attack was a planned assault on the youths who were taking out 'Tiranga Yatra' on two-wheelers. The youths were attacked with acid bottles, stones were pelted and shots were fired on them. Every year scores of youths in Kasganj city take out rally on the occasion of Republic Day, but this time they were stopped and attacked."
Singh said, "It is important to find out as to how come so many stones, acid bottles were used in attack on youths in city area, where there is proper regulation on the sale of acid. We want thorough probe into the matter and arrest of all men involved in the violence."
BJP MP further alleged that certain slogans were also raised before the attack. "Before the attack, the other group shouted 'Pakistan Zindabad'," he said.
Meanwhile, an exclusive footage accessed by TOI prior to the clash in Kasganj showed youths with national flag shouting slogans 'Hindustan me rehena hoga toh vande matram kehna hoga' (Chant Vande Mataram, if one wants to stay in India).