The state government suspended on Wednesday Saharanpur district magistrate NP Singh and SSP SC Dubey for fresh violence that broke out on Tuesday.
DIG Saharanpur, JK Shahi, who retires in five days, has also been shifted. KS Emanuel will be the new DIG.
PK Pandey, vice chairman of Agra Development Authority (ADA) has been asked to rush and take charge as the new DM of Saharanpur. Muzaffarnagar SSP Bablu Kumar is the new district police chief. In fact, on Tuesday itself the state government had asked Kumar to go to Saharanpur to assist the local administration in controlling the situation there.
Also, internet and short-messaging-services were banned by the district administration to check rumour mongering and provocative posts on social media sites and platform.
A team of four officers, including home secretary Mani Prasad Mishra, DG (security) Vijay Kumar, ADG (law and order) Aditya Mishra and IG (STF) Amitabh Yash, had been sent to Saharanpur after which chief minister Yogi Adityanath reviewed the situation at a high-level meeting late on Tuesday evening.
Meanwhile, an uneasy calm prevailed in Shabeerpur and neighbouring villages of Saharanpur district, a day after tension following the death of a Dalit youth in caste clashes on Tuesday.
Police have tightened security across the district and launched a search operation and arrested over two dozen people on charges of inciting violence. Senior state government officials are camping in the area.
There were reports that a Rajput youth, Pradeep, was shot at on Chakreti road on Wednesday afternoon. He was referred to a hospital in Chandigarh for treatment.
Pradeep was on his way to Saharanpur from Asanwali village when two motorcycle-borne criminals opened fire on him. Sources claimed the miscreants attacked him as the word ‘Rana’ was written on his motorcycle. Circle officer Abdul Qadir, however, refuted the claims and said the motive of the crime was yet to be ascertained.
A Dalit youth from Suankheri village in Sarsawa, had died of gunshot wounds while eight others sustained injuries on Tuesday when unidentified people attacked a group of Dalits returning from a rally of Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati.
Dalits in adjoining villages protested against the killing, damaging some shops that led to closure of markets.
The last rites of Ashish were performed in his village amid tight security on Wednesday morning.
An official said the state government had given a compensation of Rs 15 lakh to the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the injured.
BSP’s Saharanpur zonal in-charge Kuldeep Baliyan told HT a meeting of party leaders had been called to take stock of the situation. He said a delegation would meet the DM and the SSP to demand immediate arrest of all suspects and adequate security to Dalits.
On Tuesday, Mayawati met the victims of caste clashes and held the BJP government responsible for incidents of violence in the state. She, however, advised Dalits not to take law in their hands and called upon the people of all castes to work for peace and harmony.
This was the second wave of caste violence in Shabeerpur and adjacent areas after May 5 clashes between Dalits and Thakurs. Over 40 houses of Dalit families were torched following the death of an upper case youth in caste clashes.
The clashes began after a dispute over taking out of a procession by Thakurs to commemorate the birth anniversary of Rajput king Maharana Pratap. Since then, caste violence has grabbed headlines and is being seen as the first law and order challenge for chief minister Yogi Adityanath since the BJP came to power in March.
Days after the May 5 killing, angry supporters of Dalit group Bheem Army torched a police post and several vehicles in Saharanpur.
Saharanpur district has 26% Dalit population spread across villages and 10% Thakurs. In Shabbirpur village, the total population of the village is 4,000 that includes 2,500 Thakurs and 600 Dalits. This lop-sided ratio worries the Dalits.