Ramvriksh Yadav, the cult leader who allegedly masterminded the Mathura violence, was well aware of the operation planned by the police to evict squatters from Jawahar Bagh, his close associate told HT on Wednesday.
He did not elaborate on how Ramvriksh came to know of the police plan.
Yadav was the leader of the Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagarhi that owes allegiance to the Swadheen Bharat Subhash Sena.
Yadav armed his supporters to take on the police and deployed them at strategic points in the park, said Rammilan Chaudhary, the close associate who reached his native village Kharkadevri in Basti district on Tuesday.
Recounting the clash between the police and the self-styled ‘satyagrahis’ at Jawahar Bagh on June 2, Rammilan said, “Ramvriksh had an inkling of the police action. Earlier half-a-dozen people were deployed at the gate to keep watch on visitors and frisk suspicious people. In the last week of May, armed members of SBSS were deployed at the gate with instructions to not permit outsiders to come in. The guards did not allow the people staying in the park to leave the area.”
Ramvriksh divided his supporters into battalions, tasking them with keeping a watch on the park boundary wall. His confidants, including Chandan Bose, Viresh Yadav, Rakesh Gupta, Rampal, Harnath Singh, Dheeraj Singh and Lakshman Pasi, led each of these battalions.
Rammilan said, “I was manning the park gate on June 2 when police launched the operation to evict the squatters. A policeman overpowered me and beat me up mercilessly. I surrendered. Later, I was sent to Agra for medical examination. I left the hospital and managed to reach home on Tuesday morning,” he added.
Several villagers from east UP joined the Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagarhi and left home to join the movement launched by Ramvriksh Yadav in Mathura. While a few returned, many of them are still missing. Anxious family members launched a search, trying to contact the villagers who went to Mathura but the mobile phones of the majority of them are switched off.
Shiv Prasad and Ramdhani, resident of Raipur village, had gone to Mathura along with one Tulsidas, a disciple of self-proclaimed godman Jai Gurudev. After the violence, the family members are trying to contact Shiv Prasad and Ramdhani but in vain. “We are planning to visit Mathura to locate the missing people,” said Rambabu Lal, the village head. Fearing that police might harass them, these villagers have not lodged a forma complaint at the police station.
Ramvriksh contested the 2009 Lok Sabha election from Kushinagar where he has a large following, in addition to people from neighbouring Deoria, Gorakhpur, Basti, Siddharthnagar and Sant Kabir Nagar. He also ran a homeopathic clinic at Bhatani town in Deoria. “Over 200 people from Kushinagar and Deoria had gone to Mathura majority of them are yet to return home,” said Dhanushdhari Singh, a medicine shop owner in Bhatani.
Inspector general of police (law and order) Hari Ram Sharma said the Mathura police arrested 98 people under sections of the IPC and 236 people under Section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The police cremated 23 bodies, which had been lying in the mortuary, on Wednesday. The DNA samples and belongings of the deceased have been preserved for identification by their family members, he added.