law enforcement

Study in contrast: How Uttar Pradesh police dealt with two sets of Kasganj violence cases

They have apparently focused more on clashes that took place on Republic Day than the subsequent mob attacks that mainly targeted the Muslim community.

One person was killed and several injured when groups of Hindu and Muslim men clashed in Uttar Pradesh’s Kasganj town in the last week of January. The violence began when a group of men waving saffron flags and the Indian tricolour set out on an unauthorised motorbike rally and disrupted a Republic Day function in a Muslim-dominated locality. Guns were fired by both sides, according to the police, and a young man named Chandan Gupta was killed. As the violence continued for days, with mostly Hindu mobs rampaging through the town, attacking Muslims and setting fire to their shops and vehicles at many places, all eyes turned to how the police under Chief Minister Adityanath would react.

So, how have the police done?

A look at the 18 cases registered so far – and the 55 people arrested – offers a picture: the police seem to have focused more on clashes that took place in the first 24 hours than the mob attacks over subsequent days.

After the clashes of January 26, hundreds of police personnel were deployed in Kasganj. Yet, violence continued for at least three more days. The police then conducted a series of raids to find the suspects. The town is home to around 1.20 lakh people, around 20% of them Muslim.

Police records accessed by show that arrests have so far been made in 11 of the 18 cases – three related to the Republic Day clashes and the rest to violence over subsequent days involving relatively minor offences. The police are yet to solve, or even identify suspects, in the other seven cases, all related to the violence targeting Muslims. They include two cases of attempt to murder, four of arson involving shops owned by Muslims and one of vandalising a minaret in an Idgah, a ground where Muslims conduct public prayers, especially on Eid.

Case study

The first of the three cases from January 26-27 pertains to Gupta’s killing, registered on the basis of a complaint by his father Sushil Gupta naming as many as 18 suspects. In total, 19 people, all Muslim, have been arrested and booked for murder, attempt to murder and sedition.

The second is a case of attempt to murder and arson with intention to destroy a place of dwelling, work or worship, registered on their own by the police. Though the First Information Report names only four suspects, the police have arrested as many as 16 people, again all Muslim.

The third case, of arson and other charges, was also registered by the police on their own. It pertains to the burning of a shop soon after Gupta’s cremation on January 27. As many as 12 people, all Hindu, have been arrested, the police records show.

Both attempt to murder and arson with intention to destroy a place of dwelling, work or worship are non-bailable offences under the Indian Penal Code, punishable with a period that can extend up to 10 years or life imprisonment.

Seven of the remaining eight people arrested have been booked under the Arms Act. They were identified from video clips shot by local residents. The eighth person has been booked for penal charges related to “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony”.

The seven unsolved cases, on the other hand, involve serious offences, including attempt to murder and arson. They were registered on the basis of complaints from Muslim residents.

Most of the 18 cases also include offences such as rioting and unlawful assembly. While 15 are registered in various police stations of Kasganj town, the records show, three are registered in the neighbouring tehsils of Amanpur and Ganjdundwara.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Tracing the formation of Al Qaeda and its path to 9/11

A new show looks at some of the crucial moments leading up to the attack.

“The end of the world war had bought America victory but not security” - this quote from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, ‘The Looming Tower’, gives a sense of the growing threat to America from Al Qaeda and the series of events that led to 9/11. Based on extensive interviews, including with Bin Laden’s best friend in college and the former White House counterterrorism chief, ‘The Looming Tower’ provides an intimate perspective of the 9/11 attack.

Lawrence Wright chronicles the formative years of Al Qaeda, giving an insight in to Bin Laden’s war against America. The book covers in detail, the radicalisation of Osama Bin Laden and his association with Ayman Al Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who preached that only violence could change history. In an interview with Amazon, Wright shared, “I talked to 600-something people, but many of those people I talked to again and again for a period of five years, some of them dozens of times.” Wright’s book was selected by TIME as one of the all-time 100 best nonfiction books for its “thoroughly researched and incisively written” account of the road to 9/11 and is considered an essential read for understanding Islam’s war on the West as it developed in the Middle East.

‘The Looming Tower’ also dwells on the response of key US officials to the rising Al Qaeda threat, particularly exploring the turf wars between the FBI and the CIA. This has now been dramatized in a 10-part mini-series of the same name. Adapted by Dan Futterman (of Foxcatcher fame), the series mainly focuses on the hostilities between the FBI and the CIA. Some major characters are based on real people - such as John O’ Neill (FBI’s foul-mouthed counterterrorism chief played by Jeff Daniels) and Ali Soufan (O’ Neill’s Arabic-speaking mentee who successfully interrogated captured Islamic terrorists after 9/11, played by Tahar Rahim). Some are composite characters, such as Martin Schmidt (O’Neill’s CIA counterpart, played by Peter Sarsgaard).

The series, most crucially, captures just how close US intelligence agencies had come to foiling Al Qaeda’s plans, just to come up short due to internal turf wars. It follows the FBI and the CIA as they independently follow intelligence leads in the crises leading up to 9/11 – the US Embassy bombings in East Africa and the attack on US warship USS Cole in Yemen – but fail to update each other. The most glaring example is of how the CIA withheld critical information – Al Qaeda operatives being hunted by the FBI had entered the United States - under the misguided notion that the CIA was the only government agency authorised to deal with terrorism threats.

The depth of information in the book has translated into a realistic recreation of the pre-9/11 years on screen. The drama is even interspersed with actual footage from the 9/11 conspiracy, attack and the 2004 Commission Hearing, linking together the myriad developments leading up to 9/11 with chilling hindsight. Watch the trailer of this gripping show below.


The Looming Tower is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, along with a host of Amazon originals and popular movies and TV shows. To enjoy unlimited ad free streaming anytime, anywhere, subscribe to Amazon Prime Video.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon Prime Video and not by the Scroll editorial team.