DM?s office attacked Heads begin to roll
IT WAS simply not DM Ramkrishan?s day. First an angry mob attacked his office on Wednesday, then the government decided to transfer him along with the SSP Rajeev Sabarwal, the ASP and the ADM for lapses during the fire tragedy. Meshram will take over as the new DM and Navneet Sikera, who was removed as Varanasi SSP after the blasts in the holy city, will be the new SSP.Updated: Apr 13, 2006 01:16 IST
IT WAS simply not DM Ramkrishan’s day. First an angry mob attacked his office on Wednesday, then the government decided to transfer him along with the SSP Rajeev Sabarwal, the ASP and the ADM for lapses during the fire tragedy.
Meshram will take over as the new DM and Navneet Sikera, who was removed as Varanasi SSP after the blasts in the holy city, will be the new SSP
How far the government move to transfer the officials will go in assuaging the anger of the people is yet to be seen in Meerut, which continued to simmer throughout the day on Wednesday. Furious mobs of students took to the roads that led to jams and confrontation at many places.
A strong mob of students also ransacked the DM office in the afternoon.The alert staff however managed to push the DM inside the retiring room to save him from the mob’s ire. Ramkrishan, however, denied that he was attacked by the mob. “I was busy in some discussion inside the retiring room when mob entered and smashed the office,” he clarified.
Police have arrested five students, including a girl, from nearby Meerut College on charges of attacking the DM’s Office. They have been sent to the police stations situated in remote areas.
This, however, caused further anger among students who came out on the roads at various places. Hundreds of students of CCS University led by Vishal Saraswat, general secretary of Student Union, jammed the road outside the university raising anti-administration slogans. They demanded suspension of the DM, who inaugurated the fair, and to release the students. “They ( officials) are the real culprits and should be sent behind bars,” said Saraswat.
Students also boycotted the second shift of examination in Meerut college and sat on a dharna at kutchery crossing. Police resorted to use of force to disperse the mob that led to a mild confrontation between the two sides. Thousands of agitated students then moved towards the Abulane market forcing the traders to close their shops. The mob blamed officials for hiding the actual number of deaths in Monday’s fire. “They are hiding the actual figures only to save their skin,” charged the students demanding stern action against the DM and those who sanctioned permission for the fair.
“In the name of wreckage, they removed dead bodies by using heavy JCB machines and disposed them of secretly,” blamed the furious mob terming it an act against the humanity that deprived many from performing last rites of their near and dear.
Joining hands with students, hundreds of women jammed the Garh Road accusing officials of adopting a lackadaisical attitude in tracing missing persons. They said that one Vandana of their locality was missing since the blaze broke out on Monday. She had gone to see the fair but didn’t return. Despite their repeated request no one paid heed to their words which forced them to come out on the streets. When police lathicharged to disperse the mob, they pelted stones and damaged more than a dozen roadways buses. Police then fired two rounds in the air to scatter the mob.
Another group of people blocked traffic at Tej Garhi chouraha, Begumpul and many other places on Wednesday. Condolence meetings were organised in courts, churches, schools and temples to pay tributes to the victims of the Monday fire.
On face of the brewing anger, security has been tightened around the residences of commissioner and other senior officials. Additional force and PAC have been called in from adjacent districts to meet out any eventuality.
Meanwhile, a barricading has been put up around the gutted enclosures at Victoria Park in order to prevent the movement of people on the wreckage.
“I have written a letter to the forensic lab of Agra to send a team to examine the debris,” said the outgoing SSP Rajeev Sabharwal adding that the CMO had been requested to preserve the sample of unidentified bodies for DNA tests.
First Published: Apr 13, 2006 01:16 IST