One dead, 25 houses torched as Thakurs, Dalits clash in UP’s Saharanpur
Violence breaks out over Maharana Pratap birth anniversary parade, barely a fortnight after similar clashes during Ambedkar Jayanti procession.
A young man was killed in alleged caste clashes at a village in northwestern Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur area on Friday, while at least two dozen Dalit houses were torched in retaliation.
Violence broke out when members of the Thakur community from Shimlana village took out a music-filled procession to commemorate the birth anniversary of medieval Rajput warrior-king Maharana Pratap.
When the parade was passing through the predominantly Dalit village of Shabirpur, residents objected to the allegedly raucous celebration, triggering an exchange of heated words. The altercation ballooned into a full-blown clash with both groups throwing stones and bricks at each other.
A stone hit a 25-year-old Thakur man fatally. His death further enraged the community and more Thakurs from neighbouring villages gathered at Shabirpur and set at least 25 Dalit houses on fire.
They allegedly attacked police and fire brigade personnel who had dashed to the village. A fire engine was damaged, sources said.
Several people, including a police inspector, were wounded in the attack.
Police reinforcements have reached the area, and the situation is said to be under control but tense.
The area had recorded similar clashes this April when the BJP took out a procession to mark the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, who wrote the Constitution and fought for civil rights of the lower castes.
Clashes broke out when members of a community allegedly objected to the procession and threw stones at the rallyists.
The 42-year-old parliamentarian for Saharanpur, Raghav Lakhanpal Sharma of the BJP, a senior police officer, and many more people were wounded.
Uttar Pradesh police registered two FIRs against Sharma and 300 unidentified people in connection with the April 20 violence.
“I can say with confidence that everyone will be safe in the state without any discrimination and rule of law is the priority of the state government,” chief minister Yogi Adityanath said, responding to a question on the Saharanpur violence.