Top Uttar Pradesh officials admitted in Noida on Tuesday that probe into violence at Bhatta-Parsaul had indeed been a casualty. They also termed the killing of farmers, and that of policemen unfortunate but said, "Not a single farmer was missing to our knowledge; it's just that some of them are still staying out because of police fear after the violence."
A day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi accused policemen of Uttar Pradesh of raping women and killing farmers, besides burning their bodies to quell an agitation against land acquisition in Greater Noida on May 7, two top officials of Meerut — commissioner Bhuvnesh Kumar and IG Rajnikant Mishra — rushed to Noida to defend the state government.
The commissioner said samples from burnt cowdung cake heaps, had been taken and sent to the forensic lab in Agra for tests but added, "We have sent the samples with court permission after receiving information about the presence and use of explosive when clashes broke out on May 7." He refuted allegations of farmers being burnt at Bhatta-Parsaul. "If there is something more to it, the lab report will tell the truth," the IG said.Accompanied by the DM and the SSP of Gautam Budh Nagar, the two officials from Meerut division "clarified issues" a day after Rahul Gandhi took a delegation of farmers to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, following his dramatic motorcycle pillion-ride visit to the area. Rahul on Monday alleged that huge heaps of ash from burnt bodies were found in the villages and claimed to have proof of the atrocities committed by the police.
Mishra denied allegations that the police set fire to parts of the village to avenge the killing of two of their colleagues. He said, "We in fact sent seven fire tenders to douse the blaze." He refused to respond to Rahul's comments or his taking a delegation of Bhatta-Parsaul farmers to the prime minister. He, however, admitted that due to a law and order situation, the probe into the violence had been a casualty.
District magistrate Deepak Aggarwal, who was also injured in the violence, said, "People had fled the village out of fear. They're returning now. Our door-to-door survey is on. No villager has yet registered a missing complaint. If there is any such report, we will look into it."
The officers refused to comment on photographs released by Rahul Gandhi, purportedly showing atrocities at the hands of the police.