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Mathura clashes not the first lapse on UP Police’s part

The writing on the wall was clear. But the state government and the UP police top brass failed to act till the court issued a contempt notice in April 2016 after it failed to comply with evacuation orders.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2016 20:16 IST
Rohit K Singh
Rohit K Singh
Hindustan Times
Mathura clashes,Mathura death toll,Mathura violence
A gutted hut near Jawahar Bagh in Mathura on Friday, a day after police-encrachers clash.(PTI Photo)

The writing on the wall was clear. But the state government and the UP police top brass failed to act till the court issued a contempt notice in April 2016 after it failed to comply with evacuation orders.

The planning started on both sides. The police, chalking out their strategy to get the land evacuated, did a recce every evening and rehearsed the evacuation exercise for the last couple of days.

“The police had planned a complete evacuation on June 3. They had in fact demolished a wall on Thursday to facilitate the same, “ said a local cop. That triggered the clashes and the encroachers, already ready with arms and ammunition, attacked the police who were ill prepared.

An official in Mathura said the local cops had inputs about the protestors chalking out their own plans to thwart any evacuation attempt. It included sacrificing lives of some of their group members.

Locals had been demanding their evacuation as the nuisance created by the encroachers kept growing every day. They had brutally beaten up police inspector Kunwar Pal Singh Yadav a few months ago. The protestors earlier also had a brawl with lawyers and employees of the horticulture department, who had their residential area near the camp.

Thus on Friday when they killed the cops, locals came out in support of the police and bashed the encroachers. They even raised slogans in support of the cops.

However, this was not the first time when the police faulted on several fronts.

Earlier also, local officials who had read the brewing trouble and planned evacuation were denied support.

Read: Samajwadi Party govt comes under fire after 24 die in Mathura clashes

The problem started in January 2014 when a rebel group of Baba Gurudev, led by Ram Vriksha Yadav, staged a dharna against Pankaj Yadav, who had inherited Gurudev’s legacy , including property worth several thousand crores spread across western UP. Gurudev died in May 2012.

The dharna was organised at Jawahar Bagh in Mathura, which has military land and DM compund as its neighbours. The protest continued and gradually they encroached 280 acres of land that actually belonged to the horticulture department.

The authorities simply overlooked the encroachment of the government land despite demand from locals for their evacuation. A few half-hearted attempts made by the police failed. Interestingly, the members of Swadheen Bharat Subhash Sena brazenly wrote their demands on the outer walls of the DM’s residence. They said they will soon form a parallel government.

About a year ago the police had done a recce of Jawahar Bagh camps with the help of some local journalists, who had easy access to this area, which always remained guarded by armed people. He said the journalists provided photographs of arms and ammunition and underground bunkers inside the camps. They had even created ‘machans’ on the treetops to keep watch on the movement outside the camps, he added .

“The intelligence bureau and local intelligence unit had inputs on presence of firearms at Jawahar Bagh camps, “ said senior officials who were earlier posted in the district.

In fact in 2015 , the local police had even sent a proposal to the DGP headquarters seeking at least 25 company of provincial armed constabulary (PAC), which is around 2500 armed personnel, for the evacuation but it was turned down ,” said the senior police officer. He said such a demand was made as they were aware about the increasing manpower as well as firepower of the encroachers.

Ever since reports had been sent to the Director General of Police (DGP) headquarters regularly.

Read: Mathura clashes: Death toll climbs to 24, BJP calls for judicial probe

First Published: Jun 03, 2016 20:16 IST