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Mathura violence: Poll bugle for UP Assembly Election 2017

Two years ago, activists of splinter group of Baba Jai Gurudev, claiming themselves to be member of ‘Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi’, had occupied hundreds acres of land of Jawahar Bagh in Mathura on the pretext of ‘dharna’. Their demands included “cancellation” of election of President and Prime Minister of India, replacement of existing currency with ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ currency, sale of diesel at the rate of 60 litres for one rupee and petrol at the rate of 40 litres for one rupee. The activists have been occupying the land since then. Twenty-four people were killed in the clash between police and encroachers during an anti-encroachment drive at Jawahar Bagh. The deceased includes Superintendent of Police Mukul Dwivedi. Twenty-three policemen are injured while some of them sustained severe injuries.

The violence has only proved that there is “complete breakdown of administration and law and order” in the state. While 250 people have been detained for their involvement in the clash, the city continues to be tense even as heavy police reinforcement has been deployed.

Many attempts were made to hold discussions (with the encroachers), warnings were issued, but they still didn’t evacuate the land. There has been a lapse as well. The police committed a mistake and went to the violence hit area without being fully prepared. There was so much danger involved. No one knew how many explosives were inside.

After this incidence, state and central governments are indulging in a tug of war. Since the UP assembly election is just a year away what was the purpose of so many arms and hand grenades being stored in ashram? Were they planning some riots or violence before elections? Questions are being raised on why the police and administration continued to ignore the assembly of over 3000-armed civilians in the Jawahar Bagh compound since the past 30 months, a negligence which resulted in such a disaster.

Twenty two rioters died in the violence apart from the Station House Officer of Farah and Superintendent of Police Mathura City. Out of the 22, 11 died in the fire that the rioters had set to their own shacks built inside the compound, while 11 lives were lost in the police lathicharge subsequent to a blatant attack on the police force by the rioters from all sides. The rioters had amassed massive volume of arms, ammunition and other types of bladed weapons and a tunnel inside the compound still contained a large number of bombs and grenades so that the police have cordoned off section of the compound as attempts are being made to defuse the bombs.

Sources indicated that the compound also acted as a shelter for several Maoists who had disappeared over the past couple of years in Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar and they had provided training to the rioters for combating the police force effectively. Several of the so-called Satyagrahis have dozens of criminal cases registered against them.

Complete system failure

Migrants from UP and Bihar have illegally occupied large areas of government land in Mumbai and Thane and have also constructed unauthorised slums in the area. Government must take immediate steps to remove the encroachers before it is too late.

It was not for the first time that such an incident has happened. Earlier, similar incidents had been reported from Azamgarh and Pratapgarh. Entire police system and local administration was sleeping when such anti- social elements were making their base there with huge ammunition.

Is law and order in the State failed to stop this unlawful occupation in whatever name? If any action were taken at the initial stages of encroachment, then present ugly situation would not have been arisen. Any probe should look for motives of the government for its laxity in taking action then. It has become customary that judiciary is sought to step in to sort out even normal executive roles of administration. The reason for such a situation arises out of the vested interests of the Party in power.

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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