Curfew continued in six police station areas of Saharanpur on the second consecutive day on Sunday after a minor land dispute turned into communal riots in the city. In the aftermath of the violence, leaders of Sikhs’ top governing body Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) sent Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Gurbachan Singh, to enquire about the matter.
“We would report the entire matter to our senior authorities who would take further decision in the matter,” Singh said while insisting that a search operation should be launched to recover illegal weapons used. He also advised the Muslim religious leaders to issue a fatwa for their community restraining them from violence and asking them to maintain peace and harmony.
Denouncing the role of district administration, the Jatehdar appealed to the people to maintain peace. He also gave compensation to the injured, kin of the deceased and to those who lost their property.
However, some locals blamed the administration for siding with a particular community “under pressure of the state government.”
Meanwhile, the district administration convened a peace meeting which was attended by senior officials and representatives of different political parties, traders associations and religious leaders.
As Eid is only two days away, it would be tough to take a decision on lifting curfew and sources said that officials were divided on this. BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal also was of the opinion that the situation did not seem favourable for giving relaxation in curfew.
Union minister Kalraj Mishra said it appeared Saharanpur clashes were pre-planned and asked political parties not to politicise the issue. “The manner in which members of a particular community attacked those, who were protesting against forced grabbing of land, is indicative of a serious conspiracy,” he said.
The incident also triggered protests in various parts of the country. In Ludhiana, activists of various Sikh organisations including the Sikh Students Federation (SSF) protested against the Uttar Pradesh government’s alleged failure in containing violence in Saharanpur.
Meanwhile, home minister Rajnath Singh met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and briefed him about the situation and the action being taken to maintain peace in the state, sources said.