Kasganj violence: Prime accused in murder of Chandan Gupta arrested
Uttar Pradesh Police identified the accused as Saleem Javed. Police teams recovered a pistol and some crude explosives from Saleem’s residence during a raid on Saturday night.
A semblance of normalcy returned to Uttar Pradesh’s Kasganj, near Aligarh in the western part of the state, and adjoining areas after police on Wednesday arrested Saleem Javed, for the murder of Abhishek Gupta aka Chandan during a clash on Republic Day. The police also thwarted efforts by activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad from carrying out so-called tiranga yatras (tricolour marches) in several towns in the vicinity.
Javed has been missing since the January 26 incident when Chandan, part of a tiranga bike yatra, was shot dead. The bikers, with national and saffron flags wanted right of way through an area earmarked for a national flag hoisting ceremony in a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood.
The altercation turned violent, resulting in the shooting of Chandan and subsequent communal clashes.
“Saleem has admitted that he had opened fire at Chandan,” Aligarh inspector general of police Sanjeev Gupta said.
Elsewhere in the state, the police denied permission for tiranga yatras by the VHP, a day after chief minister Yogi Adityanath said law and order was a priority and that no one would be allowed to vitiate the atmosphere.
The VHP is an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
In Agra, VHP cadres shouted ‘Vande Matram’ and ‘Pakistan Murdabad’ but in a majority of 20-odd towns in western UP, the processions lost steam. Senior leaders of the VHP said they decided to tone down their protests after deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma sought support in maintaining law and order.
On Wednesday the UP state government also told the central government that it was investigating whether the clashes were pre-planned.
A senior Union home ministry official who asked not to be identified said the state government had submitted its report on the incident . The report said the state police “swung into action after the violence was reported and brought it under control quickly”, according to home ministry officials.
Gupta’s death sparked sporadic violence with mobs burning shops and vehicles. Police have arrested more than 150 people over the violence.
Police are also reviewing more than 500 video clips of the communal clashes to identify people with sticks and firearms.
Additional director general of police (Agra), Ajay Anand, said that apart from Saleem, his two brothers – identified only by their first names Waseem and Naseem – and 17 others were charged with murder and under other sections.
Police teams recovered a pistol and crude explosives from Saleem’s residence during a raid on Saturday night.
The opposition plans to use the violence to corner the BJP government. The Samajwadi Party has called BJP leaders insensitive while the Congress rushed a “fact-finding mission” to the spot that was not allowed to visit the area.