03/06/2016 10:38 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST

Mathura Clashes: Over 365 Arrested, Four Accused Absconding

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
MATHURA, INDIA - JUNE 2: A fire break out after clashes between police and encroachers, believed to be of Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi, who were being evicted from Jawaharbagh on June 2, 2016 in Mathura, India. 21 people including two senior police officers died in violence that erupted during a police drive to evict about 3,000 people who had encroached into the Jawahar Bagh park. The squatters belonged to Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi group and claimed to be true followers of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose have illegally occupied public land from last two years. A cache of arms and several spent bullets of AK-47 assault rifles were seized by police from the site of the deadly clashes. (Photo by Anant Ram/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Akhilesh Yadav government was left firefighting after the temple town of Mathura was on edge following massive violence that claimed 24 lives.

Police clashed with about 3,000 members of a little-known sect whose leaders have fled while 368 people have been arrested on Friday.

An uneasy calm prevailed today as forces from other parts of Uttar Pradesh were rushed to bring normalcy to the town where a large cache of ammunition was recovered from the members of zad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi", an outfit claiming allegiance to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, in Jawahar Bagh area.

The clashes took place when police went to evict the members of the sect, which has made outlandish demands for the removal of the President and Prime Minister and replacing of the Indian currency, from a 260-acre government land encroached by them. The police action followed Allahabad High Court orders.

Mukul Dwivedi, Superintendent of Police and Santosh Yadav, Station House officer, Farah, were killed in the violence that also claimed the lives of 22 members of the sect.

A tweet from the official account of CM Akhilesh Yadav’s office read,

"There were some lapses. Police should have gone with full preparation and after holding talks, but there was no information that they would be having so much (arms and ammunition)," Yadav told reporters.

Among the 24 killed, the two policemen were shot dead and 11 were burnt to death due to cylinder blasts. The encroachers had set on fire the huts where bombs, explosives and gas cylinders were stored, before retreating from the site, UP DGP Javed Ahmed said. In all, 22 rioters including a woman were killed.

The violence led to political sparring with BJP, Congress and others attacking the government headed by Samajwadi Party while Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav ordered a probe by Divisional Commissioner of Mathura into the violence.

The Centre sought a report from the state government while Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Yadav and extended all support. However, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju attacked the state government saying there were some lapses.

"The leaders of the sect Ram Vraksha Yadav, Chandan Gaur, Rakesh Gupta and others will be booked under the NSA Act," Ahmed told a press conference here.

"We have recovered 47 guns, six rifles and 178 hand grenades from the area," the DGP 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.

Uttar Pradesh Police has made 368 arrests in connection with the violence in Mathura even as the four main accused in the clashes between police and members of a sect are absconding.

(With PTI Inputs)

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