24 killed in clashes between Bose cult & cops in Mathura
The death toll in Thursday’s clash between the police and 3,000-odd members of the Swadheen Bharat Subhas Sena, who claim to be followers of Subhas Chandra Bose, has left 24 dead, among them SP (city) Mukul Dwivedi and station officer (Farah) Santosh Yadav.
All of the 22 others killed in violent clashes that had gone on for hours a day before were part of the cult that was started by a man who called himself Jai Gurudev and first said he was `Netaji’ sometime in 1975.
Embers of razed dwellings inside the Jawahar Bagh, which the Subhas Sena had encroached upon since 2014, could still be seen on Friday when the police fished out 11burnt bodies from the rubble.It was the park which the cops had tried to seize after a high court order asking the encroachers to vacate that led to the bloodshed.
The police also recovered from the site a huge cache of country made weapons that included guns, pistols and live cartridges.
Unconfirmed reports said the toll could be higher as several policemen were still “missing“. Over 100, including cops, were injured in the bloody skirmishes that also saw largescale arson and are being treated at various hospitals in Agra and Mathura. Sources said close to 400 of the rioters have been arrested and are being held in “makeshift“ prisons. Many seem to have escaped in the melee.
The Centre blamed the Uttar Pradesh government for the violence. “Definitely there was lapse,“ minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju said, adding that a report had been sought from the state government on the circumstances leading to the incident.
UP DGP Javed Ahmed arrived at Jawahar Bagh on Friday morning after chief minister Akhilesh Yadav late on Thursday night asked him to rush to the spot. He said Subhash Sena had stockpiled weapons–which both the police and local intelligence units seemed to have no clue about–and the arms confiscated from mem bers of the cult included 45 .315 bore pistols, two 12 bore rifles, a .315 bore gun, swords and knives. The Sena also had with them 200 lives cartridges.
Ahmed said the encroachers, who call themselves `satyagrahis’, resorted to unprovoked firing at the raiding police team, lead by the SP and the SO.
Though in the list of arms and ammunition recovered from the Subhas Sena there was no mention of either grenades or automatic weapons, the DGP said the cult’s members had both. “They fired at us with automatic weapons from vantage points on treetops,“ Javed said, adding, “Ram Briksha Yadav , one of the leaders of the group, is absconding and the National Security Act (NSA) would be invoked against him.