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Mathura clashes: Scarred for life, ‘cult’ children recall ‘bade pitaji’

The violence at Jawahar Bagh in Mathura on Thursday has left 23 children permanently scarred with horrific memories of gunshots, screams and corpses.

india Updated: Jun 08, 2016 10:07 IST
Hemendra Chaturvedi
Hemendra Chaturvedi
Hindustan Times
Jawahar Bagh,Mathura,Vishwa Vimohan Kulshreshtha
A fire break out after clashes between police and encroachers, believed to be of Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi, who were being evicted from Jawaharbagh in Mathura.(Hindustan Times)

The violence at Jawahar Bagh in Mathura on Thursday has left 23 children permanently scarred with horrific memories of gunshots, screams and corpses.

As the bullets flew, some of the children hid behind trees while some ran around aimlessly in the dark to save themselves.

Read: Mathura violence: SP says squatters were Maoists, seeks Rajnath’s resignation

The children were traced later by the district administration as they moved without family after the mayhem and shifted to the government children’s home in Firozabad. According to officials, guardians of five children have turned up but they have been asked to provide conclusive evidence to get their kids back.

Read:Mathura mayhem: Drama over Ram Vriksh’s body

“They were brought here in the late hours of Friday night from Jawahar Bagh. Some of the children claim that their parents are in jail while others are not sure if their parents are alive or dead,” said Vishwa Vimohan Kulshreshtha, chairman of the child welfare committee (CWC) that is looking after the children in Firozabad.

The children in the age group of 12 to 16 years were living inside the park with their parents before the violence broke out. Some of them were aggressive and even raised slogans of “Netaji Zindabad” when they were brought to the children’s home but they were gradually pacified, officials said.

Read: ‘Crackdown on Jawahar Bagh encroachers not planned for June 2’

The children used to call Rambriksh Yadav, the alleged mastermind of the incident, ‘ bade pitaji’ ( elder f ather), Netaji or Babuji. They studied in a school set up and run by the illegal occupants of Jawahar Bagh. Some of them had come to Jawahar Bagh recently. The children told officials that their parents used to carry out different tasks in the park under the leadership of ‘bade pitaji’.

Read: Mathura violence: BSP chief Mayawati sees tacit SP-BJP deal

One of the children from Hardoi district said his father was called to Jawahar Bagh for a job and land. His mother also came to the park but they were not allowed to return when they wished.

Outgoing Mathura district magistrate Rajesh Kumar on Tuesday said the police crackdown on encroachers in Jawahar Bagh, where two police officials and over two dozen others were killed in clashes last week, was not planned for the “fateful” day but for some other date “very soon”.

“We had already arranged 15 companies of t he PAC/ RAF (Provincial Ar med Constabulary/Rapid Action Force) but were waiting for the two women RAF companies to come and begin the police operation in Jawahar Bagh,” he said.

The state government transferred the DM, along with the SSP, on Monday amid growing criticism of an ‘ill-planned’ police operation that led to a ferocious counter-attack by Yadav and his followers.

(With inputs from Brajendra K Parashar, Lucknow)

First Published: Jun 08, 2016 09:36 IST