Facing flak, senior UP cop defends showering flowers on Kanwarias | india news | Hindustan Times
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Facing flak, senior UP cop defends showering flowers on Kanwarias

Prashant Kumar, the additional director general (ADGP) of Meerut zone, along with commissioner Anita Meshram, Meerut DM Anil Dhengra and SSP Rajesh Kumar Pandey had showered flowers on Kanwarias on Meerut route.

india Updated: Aug 09, 2018 21:09 IST
HT Correspondent/Agencies
HT Correspondent/Agencies
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Kanwarias,Kanwarias in Meerut,Flower shower on Kanwarias
Meerut district magistrate Anil Dhingra (L) and senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Meerut Rajesh Kumar Pandey (R) prepare to sprinkle rose petals over devotees of Hindu God Shiva, "Kanwariyas", carrying pots of Holy Ganga water on their return journey from Haridwar during an aerial inspection in Meerut on August 8, 2018.(AFP Photo )

A day after senior police and administrative officials showered flowers on pilgrims on Kanwar Yatra route in Meerut and Saharanpur divisions, one of the senior cops who used an official chopper for the gesture, defended his action, saying it should not be given a religious hue.

The officials’ gesture, meanwhile, received flak from many quarters, especially since several incidents of Kanwarias clashing with policemen were also reported in the region.

“No religious angle should be given to this; flowers are used to welcome people. Administration respects all religions and actively takes part, even in Gurupurab, Eid, Bakrid or Jain festivals,” said Prashant Kumar, the additional director general (ADGP) of Meerut zone.

Kumar, along with commissioner Anita Meshram, Meerut DM Anil Dhengra and SSP Rajesh Kumar Pandey had showered flowers on Kanwarias on Meerut route, while Saharanpur commissioner CP Tripathi, DIG Sharad Sachan, DM Alok Kumar Pandey and SSP Upendra Agarwal had also done the same in their respective district and range.

A photo/video of Kumar sitting in an airborne helicopter with his hands full of rose petals had gone viral on Wednesday.

Watch: ADG of UP police throws flowers at Kanwariyas from helicopters

Reports said at least 10 pilgrims died in accidents, clashes and heart attack till now during the month-long Yatra, first phase of which concluded on Thursday.

On Wednesday, an unruly mob of Kanwarias had attacked a police vehicle in Bugrasi area of Bulandshahr when cops had gone there to settle a dispute between the two groups.

A video of Kanwarias damaging the police vehicle went viral on social media.

“Those involved in the incident have been identified and eight persons have been named in the case and efforts are underway to arrest them,” said Praveen Ranjan, SP (city), Bulandshahr.

In another case, a group of Kanwarias went berserk on National Highway 58 near Daulrala town last Friday when a PAC vehicle hit two motorcycle-borne pilgrims.

The angry Kanwarias not only damaged the patrol vehicle of the PAC but also blocked the highway for hours.

Also, four Kanwarias died in accidents in Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur during the yatra.

One pilgrim died in clash between the two groups near Harad village of Shamli.

Similarly, a woman Kanwaria died of heart attack in Mansoorpur area of Muzaffarnagar.

In another incident, a mob of Kanwaria set a bike on fire after two pilgrims died in a road mishap.

Samajwadi Party district president Rajpal Singh said the state government was politicising the administration and the police.

“Officials must remember the oath that they undertake while joining duty. Showering petals on pilgrims while turning a blind eye to their unlawful acts is a clear violation of guidelines. All this is happening to extract political mileage out of a religious yatra,” said Singh.

First Published: Aug 09, 2018 21:09 IST