Peace remained elusive in Kasganj in Uttar Pradesh where miscreants set a kiosk on fire on Sunday morning, three days after violence rocked the town claiming the life of Chandan Gupta in a clash between two groups over a motorcycle rally to celebrate Republic Day.
District magistrate RP Singh rushed to the spot and fire fighters extinguished the blaze. The latest incident is contrary to the district administration’s claim that the situation has been controlled.
“The district of Kasganj has not witnessed any major clash or violence resulting even in injury to anyone during last three days after clashes killed one person. We are doing our best to control the situation but the miscreants are now resorting to stray attacks on shops and abandoned objects lying in the city just to draw attention towards them,” the district magistrate said.
“The kiosk burnt on Sunday morning is in continuation with such design of miscreants. We are working round the clock to arrest miscreants and end such stray incidents,” Singh said.
The administration on Sunday morning organised a meeting of the district peace committee in a bid to restore normalcy. After the meeting, it was decided that shops and commercial establishments in the area would be opened, officials said.
“At the meeting of the peace committee, whose members include prominent citizens of the district, it was decided that the shopkeepers will open their shops and commercial establishments. There is no atmosphere of fear in the city. There have been sporadic incidents, which people of the city feel have brought shame to the place,” Agra’s additional director general of police Ajay Anand said.
Aligarh divisional commissioner Subhash Chandra Sharma said people at the peace committee meeting put forward their points of view and concerns about the situation and the administration assured all possible help.
Sharma said shops selling tea, snacks, vegetables, milk and medicine were already allowed to remain open and normalcy would return when others start opening their shops.
On Saturday, there had been widespread arson and vandalism after cremation of Chandan Gupta, the man killed in on Friday. Shops at Ghantaghar were burnt down and private buses parked on Nadrai Gate were set on fire.
The district administration blocked the internet on Saturday evening to prevent rumour mongering.
ADGP Ajay Anand claimed on Saturday evening there was no incident after 2pm, but later at night miscreants set ablaze an abandoned car and a pharmacy.
The incidents of arson and vandalism have taken place despite a heavy deployment of police forces including the provincial armed constabulary (PAC) and the rapid action force (RAF).
The administration has officially not imposed curfew in Kasganj but policemen on patrol are asking people to stay indoors.
Meanwhile, the Congress on Sunday demanded an independent judicial probe by a high court judge into the violence in Kasganj.
Congress leader Pramod Tiwari alleged callousness and mismanagement on the part of the state government and local administration that led to the clashes between two communities.
“How did this happen, who did it? The truth will come out only when an independent judicial probe is conducted by a sitting high court judge.
“We demand an independent probe by a sitting high court judge into the incident,” he said.
Asking a question to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, “Till when will incidents of gang rape continue under your rule and in the BJP-ruled states. When will you apprehend the culprits and give them exemplary punishment?”