Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and movie star Hema Malini has come under attack for posting photos from a movie shoot in Mumbai on Twitter even as a confrontation between the police and members from a little-known sect in her constituency of Mathura left at least 24 people dead and over 300 injured.
Malini later deleted the photos and said she was "upset" by the news of the clash at a "place which is so dear" to her and vowed to go there if her presence is required. The BJP has mounted an attack on the Uttar Pradesh government in the wake of the attack that has killed 24 people dead, including an SP and an SHO.
BJP MP (Mathura) Hema Malini uploads shoot pictures on her Twitter even as death toll from Mathura incident rises. pic.twitter.com/CCilzxReCZ
— ANI (@ANI_news) June 3, 2016
According to this report, heavily armed members of the Swadhin Bharat Vidhik Satyagrah, a revolutionary group that allegedly wants to do away with elections, clashed with the police when it moved in to evict thousands of squatters from a public park. The NDTV report said they were armed with swords, knives, grenades and handmade guns.
Mukul Dwivedi, the Superintendent of Police who was leading the drive, was hit on the head with a stone and succumbed to his injury at the hospital. Station House Officer Santosh Yadav was shot in the head, the report said.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has ordered a probe by the divisional commissioner of Mathura into the violence at Jawahar Bagh where nearly 3,000 people had illegally set up camp on an over 260-acre plot for last two years.
Malini got flak from Twitter users for uploading the photos even as violent clashes broke out in her constituency.
While law and order isn't Hema Malini's domain, expecting sense & sensitivity isn't asking for much! https://t.co/SH6Lu2fxT5
— Rohini Singh (@Rohinisgh_ET) June 3, 2016
— Pawan Khera (@Pawankhera) June 3, 2016
21 Killed in Mathura. MP Hema Malini busy shooting for Film & Posting pics (now deleted) on Twitter. Good Governance pic.twitter.com/nlpPTVjYqJ
— Joy (@Joydas) June 3, 2016
The BJP was quick to defend Malini. Party spokesman Sambit Patra said Malini is "extremely sensitive" to the situation and will reach Mathura if needed. "I'm sure Hema Malini ji will go to Mathura, she has expressed her grief over what has happened. Let's not divert from the issue," Patra said.
Im sure Hema Malini ji will go to Mathura, she has expressed her grief over what has happened. Let's not divert from the issue: Sambit Patra
— ANI (@ANI_news) June 3, 2016
The Centre has sought a report from the Uttar Pradesh government on the incident while Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Yadav and assured the state government of all necessary help.
Huge cache of arms recovered in Mathura 45 arms of 315 bore, two 12 bore one factory made 315 bore rifle, one 12 bore rifle, four 315 bore
— Javeed (@javeeddgpup) June 3, 2016
According to state Director General of Police Javed Ahmed, there was "unprovoked" firing by the encroachers who pelted stones and attacked the policemen with lathis as they arrived at the site for a recce to carry out the eviction.
"The police teams reorganised themselves. After two shelters were vacated, the protesters set afire gas cylinders and munition stored there which led to several explosions. 22 rioters were killed in the violence. These include 11 persons who were killed in a fire started by the agitators," he said. The deceased also included a woman.
"Our two young officers laid down their lives while protecting the law and with a heavy heart we bid adieu to them," the DGP told reporters after paying tributes to the slain officers. He said 23 police personnel have been hospitalised and many among them have suffered bullet injuries.
"We have recovered 47 guns, six rifles and 178 hand grenades from the area," he said, adding "124 people have been arrested for creating disturbances. Another 196, including 116 women, have been arrested under 151 CrPC," he said. Section 151 CrPC deals with preventive arrests.
(With PTI inputs)