The ruling Samajwadi Party on Friday said rioters involved in the Mathura violence were “outsiders” who had gathered at a park on the Uttar Pradesh government’s land for a protest.
“They were not local people. They had come from neighbouring states of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh and had gathered at the park belonging to the state government. They were given permission to hold a peaceful protest for just two days,” Uttar Pradesh public works department minister Shivpal Yadav said at a press conference.
He said the protesters had refused to vacate state government land, despite repeated pleas and warnings from the administration for three years.
Yadav asserted that the administration had cut off the water and power supply to the Jawaharbagh park in order to uproot the protesters.
“If anyone from the police or the local administration is found guilty of not discharging his duty, he will be held accountable and will be punished,” Yadav said.
Thursday’s violence saw 22 protesters and two police officers killed in the clash.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has assured “strict action” against the perpetrators of the violence
The police have recovered a hoard of ammunition and weaponry from the protest site.