The District Magistrate (DM) of Bareilly, Raghvendra Vikkram Singh, on Sunday criticized what he called a growing trend of people taking out processions in Muslim localities and raising slogans against Pakistan. The post, that has now been taken down, referred to the recent communal violence in Uttar Pradesh's Kasganj.
A 16-year-old Hindu boy was killed and shops, buses and a car were set on fire following clashes between Hindus and Muslims on Republic Day. According to various media reports, following a verbal altercation between members of the two communities, locals allegedly pelted stones on a motorcycle rally taken out by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) volunteers as part of celebrations on the 69th Republic Day, through a mainly-Muslim area.
"There is a strange trend now — taking out processions forcefully in Muslim localities and raising anti-Pakistan slogans. Why? Are these people Pakistanis? The same thing happened in Bareilly's Khailam followed by stone-pelting and lodging of an FIR," Singh wrote in his Facebook post.
Police arrested 112 people following the clashes and the Yogi Adityanath government transferred the area Superintendent of Police, Sunil Kumar Singh, to the Police Training School in Meerut, according to PTI.
Piyush Srivastava is the new Kasganj SP. PTI reported that drone cameras have been deployed for aerial surveillance. The situation is gradually returning to normal.
Uttar Pradesh Govenor Ram Naik condemned the incident.
"Whatever happened in Kasganj was not good. The incident there is a blot for UP. The government is probing the incident. It should initiate effective measures to ensure that such incidents are not repeated," he said.
In a telephonic interview to the Hindustan Times, Singh said the "small incident had big implications."
"The SP of Kasganj has been transferred and people are questioning the working of the district magistrate. These incidents affect the ongoing developmental work," Singh, a former commissioned officer in the Indian Army, said.
In June last year, a group of Kanvar devotees and some security personnel were injured in stone-pelting after Muslims objected to a Kanvar procession through Khailam village.
In her report for the Hindu newspaper, Vijaita Singh said "over 100 motorcycles with riders holding the tricolour and saffron flags converged at the spot and wanted to make their way through the spot" where a flag hoisting ceremony was going on.
When locals objected, the men on the bikes allegedly used expletives and asked the Muslim residents "to go to Pakistan."
DGP OP Singh told the Times Now news channel that police found explosives in house-to-house searches in the area. "The National Security Act (NSA) will be on the criminals for vitiating the atmosphere," Singh said.