Uttar Pradesh: Violence-hit Kasganj still tense, Yogi Adityanath vows action

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New Delhi: Kasganj remained tense on Tuesday as arsonists torched a local factory in the historic town of northwestern Uttar Pradesh, even as chief minister Yogi Adityanath promised action against those involved in the violence.

“Our government is committed to provide security to each and every citizen. Anarchy has no place in the state,” Adityanath told reporters in Lucknow, in his first comments on the Kasganj violence. Adityanath warned of “strict action” against the perpetrators of violence.

So far, 110 people have been arrested by police, with violence continuing in spite of a security clampdown. “We have stepped up vigil across the area and in nearby areas as well. We are examining the episode and are going to get to the bottom of it. As of now, we are letting the different departments do their jobs,” said a senior UP Police official, requesting anonymity.

Meanwhile, union minister Giriraj Singh said that he felt the Kasganj violence was pre-planned. “Had the deceased been Mohammad Ismaayil instead of Chandan Gupta, there would be been a different debate in the media…. We have to change this mindset,” Giriraj Singh said in Lucknow, adding that the Adityanath government would not spare anyone involved.

Giriraj Singh also referred to Bareilly district magistrate Raghvendra Vikram Singh’s comments on Facebook that appeared to blame right-wing groups for provoking communal clashes. “I have come to know that a bureaucrat has made some remarks on why some are raising ‘Pakistan Murdabad’ slogans. I want to ask why not raise ‘Pakistan Murdabad’ slogan. We raise this slogan as Pakistan kills our soldiers and is involved in spreading cross border terrorism,” the minister said.

After the Kasganj violence flared on Friday, Republic Day, Bareilly district magistrate Raghvendra Vikram Singh stirred up a controversy on Sunday when he blamed right-wing Hindu groups on Facebook for stoking unrest.

The post—deleted by Singh on Tuesday—read: “A strange tradition has started of carrying out processions through Muslim populated localities and raising anti-Pakistan slogans. Why? Are these people from Pakistan? The same incident happened in Khailam village in Bareilly. Stones were pelted, and complaints were lodged.”

Khailam was the site of clashes in 2017, when nearly 20 Hindu kanwariya pilgrims and 15 ITBP (Indo Tibetan Border Police) personnel were injured in stone-pelting after Hindu groups insisted on taking out a religious procession through the Muslim-dominated village.

Singh added, “Cheen to bada dushman hai, tiranga lekar Cheen murdabad kyon nahin? (China is the bigger enemy. Why isn’t the tricolour waved and why aren’t anti-China slogans shouted?)”

Violence erupted in Kasganj on Friday after a ‘tiranga’ (flag) bike rally allegedly carried out by members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) took a turn for the worse after the two groups clashed with Muslims who live in the area.

As violence escalated, a rally participant identified as Chandan Gupta was killed in an exchange of fire, police said.livemint