Mathura District Magistrate Rajesh Kumar and Senior Superintendent of Police Rakesh Kumar were suspended on Friday, after 24 people died in violence during an anti-encroachment drive in Jawahar Bagh. A large cache of arms was also recovered from the area, The Hindu reported, while 368 people have been arrested in the case so far. Fifty-eight of them have been charged with murder.
Hema Malini, Bharatiya Janata Party's MP from Mathura, has said that the state government needed to review its law and order situation, PTI reported. She faced flak on Friday after sharing pictures of her film shoot following the violence that broke out in Mathura. On Saturday, Malini said that she had learnt of the situation regarding illegal occupants at the land in question at Jawahar Bagh two months earlier and asked why it had not been handled before.
Violence broke out in a 270-acre area in Jawahar Bagh on Thursday after police reached the spot, following an Allahabad High Court order to clear the premises of illegal occupants. The occupants were reportedly members of a group, Swadheen Bharat Vidhik Satyagrahi. However, district officials told The Hindu that police had not gone to the land to evict occupants, but to conduct a recce of the space. Encroachers had reportedly built tents inside and damaged property on the land that belongs to the Uttar Pradesh Horticulture Department. Hundreds of encroachers have occupied the area for more than two-and-a-half years.
Two police officers were among those who died in the violence. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav ordered an investigation and also announced Rs 20 lakh compensation for their families.