Forty-eight hours after the violent Mathura clashes occurred, Uttar Pradesh police are still clueless as to the whereabouts of the alleged mastermind of the attack, Ram Vriksha Yadav.
While sources earlier claimed that Yadav escaped with hundreds of his supporters as chaos broke out Thursday, police are unsure whether Yadav is even alive.
Eleven charred bodies of the 22 found at the park where the agitation occurred remain unidentified, and one of them could be the 60-year-old Yadav. Director general of police, Javed Ahmed said if he was alive, then the police will soon catch up with the leader.
Clashes broke out when police attempted to evict about 3,000 members of a cult from Jawahar Bagh park. The members had been squatting on the government land for two years in a prolonged sit-in with a list demands.
Twenty four people died in the violence and more than 100 injured. Police claimed they were attacked, unprovoked, with gun fire and said they found a cache of arms at the park the next day.
Yadav was last seen on Thursday leading his men who had encroached upon the park.
Police will likely test the bodies’ DNA to identify them, and will be kept at the mortuary till then.
“We are yet to identify the bodies charred in fire at Jawahar Bagh on Thursday night. Ram Vriksha Yadav could be well amongst these burnt bodies but till they are identified we are not in position to clarify if he is alive or dead,” Arun Kumar Singh, superintendent of police (Rural), Mathura, said.
About 300 people who were arrested will also be interrogated to ascertain Yadav’s fate.
Apart from this, all neighbourhood districts have been alerted and asked to raid all ashrams and possible hideouts of Yadav and his associates.
In the meantime, forensic squads and bomb disposal squads have begun combing and examining Jawahar Bagh for clues.
Ram Vriksha Yadav, originally from Raipur Baghpur village in Ghazipur, is known to be short tempered and fond of moving with armed men at his side. He had ensured that the squatters in Jawahar Bagh remained since 2014. The group claimed they were true followers of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and had settled at the park to demand several things, including the cancellation of the elections of the President and Prime Minister of India, replacing the existing currency with ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ currency and the sale of diesel and petrol at as low as Rs 1 per 30-40 litres.