The Uttar Pradesh Police have registered two FIRs against Bharatiya Janata Party MP Raghav Lakhanpal Sharma and 300 other unidentified protestors in connection with Thursday’s violence in Saharanpur. Clashes broke out when BJP members took out a rally to mark Amberkar Jayanti. Later, they attacked the residence of the senior superintendent of police during a protest march. The police told PTI that they were trying to identify the 300 people in the mob, but what triggered the clashes remains unclear.
The cases have been registered for rioting, hurting a public servant to bar him from carrying out his duty and endangering the personal safety of others. “An FIR was registered against over 300 people in connection with stone pelting by members of two communities on Thursday during a rally to mark Ambedkar Jayanti at Sadak Dudhali village,” SSP Love Kumar said without specifying the communities.
Processions on Ambedkar Jayanti have been banned in Saharanpur for seven years, according to The Hindu. The locality where the rally was held has a mixed population of Muslims and Dalits and has been a communally sensitive one.
On Thursday, BJP supporters had taken out the rally in Janakpuri locality even though the district administration had denied them permission for the event. Soon after the rally started, members of two communities began to hurl stones at each other. MP Sharma and SSP Kumar were among those who suffered injuries in the stone pelting. There were also reports of firing, but Meerut Inspector General Anand Kumar did not confirm it. “I can promise strict action will be taken against the guilty,” he told NDTV.
The Lok Sabha MP Sharma and others had marched to Kumar’s official residence and pelted stones as a mark of protest. The mob also destroyed a CCTV camera and removed the nameplate outside his door. “My children and some guests were at home when the BJP workers attacked. Naturally, they were scared,” he said.
The IPS Association also condemned the attack on Kumar’s house. “It demoralises the officer and traumatises his family. We hope the government upholds morale of the police,” the association said on Twitter.