Fresh violence was witnessed in Saharanpur in which three persons were injured on Wednesday, prompting the government to suspend the District Magistrate and the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP).
The Divisional Commissioner and the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) were transferred in the wake of the continuing violence in this district of Uttar Pradesh which has been hit by caste-based clashes.
Mobile internet and messaging services were also suspended in the district to prevent rumour mongering.
Late on Wednesday night, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said strong action is being taken against all those responsible for the violence and appealed for calm. He said people should not pay heed to inflammatory speeches and should help in maintaining peace and order. Adityanath also met Governer Ram Naik late in the evening.
They are understood to have discussed developments in Saharanpur. The caste violence has led to a political slugfest with BSP chief Mayawati putting the blame on the BJP government and a senior state minister accusing the opposition party of "shedding tears".
Earlier in the day, one Pradeep Chauhan was shot at in Janakpuri area by some motorcycle-borne men, Superintendent of Police Prabal Pratap Singh said. Chauhan was rushed to the district hospital, from where he was referred to a speciality centre. Members of the Thakur community protested against the incident outside the district hospital.
In another incident, some persons attacked two men while they were sleeping near a brick kiln in Mirzapur village, the police said. One Nitin was shot at, while another person Yashpal was severely beaten up by the attackers, the police said. They suffered serious injuries and have been admitted to the district hospital.
The police, however, said the incident could not be linked to the ongoing caste violence.
Yesterday, some unidentified persons had set afire 12 houses of Thakurs in Shabbirpur village ahead of the arrival of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati there. A mob later attacked a group of people returning from a rally of Mayawati, killing one Ashish (24), who hailed from Sarsawa town, on the spot and injuring four others. In view of the continuing violence, the government took some action today.
"SSP Subhash Chandra Dubey and District Magistrate N P Singh have been suspended while Divisional Commissioner N P Agarwal and DIG J K Shahi have been transferred," an official spokesman told PTI in Lucknow. Bablu Kumar has been posted as the new SSP of Saharanpur while Pramod Kumar Pandey will be the new DM, the official said.
No official reason has been cited for the action, but it is believed that the top officials were removed after the Chief Minister expressed displeasure as they could not control the situation in Saharanpur district. DIG, security, Vijay Bhushan who was sent by the government yesterday to camp in Saharanpur has been named the new DIG of the area.
This morning, a four-member team, led by Home Secretary Mani Prasad Mishra and comprising ADG (Law and Order) Aditya Mishra, IG STF Amitabh Yash and Vijay Bhushan arrived to monitor the situation.
The ADG told PTI that the police is closely monitoring the situation and keeping a tight vigil on inflammatory messages on social media. Aditya said there is trust deficit among the people of different communities and the administration is working to reduce it.
The official warned of strict action against those trying to take the law into their hands. The Uttar Pradesh government has announced Rs 15 lakh as compensation to the family of the man killed and Rs 50,000 each to those injured yesterday.
(Feature image source: Reuters)