At least 21 people, including an SP and an SHO, have been killed in the massive clash between police and encroachers that broke out here on Thursday even as Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has ordered an inquiry. 19 people have been killed apart from SP City Mukul Dwivedi and SHO, Farah, Santosh Yadav, Pradeep Bhatnagar, commissioner, Agra division, said on Friday.
A magisterial probe has also been ordered, he said. The violence had erupted when police were trying to evict illegal occupants, believed to be of Swadheen Bharat Subhash Sena (SBSS), from Jawahar Bagh on Thursday on the directions of the Allahabad high court. In Lucknow, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav ordered a probe by the divisional commissioner of Mathura, an official spokesperson said. The Uttar Pradesh government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 20 lakh each for the families of the martyred policemen.
The situation in Mathura remains tense and DGP Javed Ahmed and principal secretary (home) Debashish Panda have rushed here.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh said he has reviewed the situation in Mathura. "I have spoken to the chief minister of Uttar Pardesh and reviewed the situation in Mathura. I have assured him of all possible help from the Centre. "I am anguished over the loss of lives in the incident in Mathura. May God give strength to the bereaved families," Rajnath Singh said.
Encroachers described themselves as "Satyagrahis" The encroachers, who call themselves "Satyagrahis", had occupied the park in the Jawahar Bagh area for over two years. The 260-acre park is valued in crores of rupees. The encroachers demand "cancellation of the elections" of the President and Prime Minister of India. They also want that diesel be sold at 60 litres a rupee and petrol at 40 litres a rupee. The existing currency, they also say, should be replaced.
So far, police have been able to identify only one of the group's leaders, Ram Vriksha Yadav, but have no further information about him or his associates. The incident has come as a setback to the Samajwadi Party (SP) government in the state which braces for elections early next year and is already faced with charges of lawlessness in the state.
Mathura MP Hema Malini expressed shock and anguish over the incident and questioned why UP police "did not" take action in the matter during the last two years. "It is very sad and I was very, very shocked that policemen and people lost their lives. For the last two years I had heard that they had occupied land," the BJP MP said.
"Uttar Pradesh government has to be made accountable for this. It is answerable. I will ask the chief minister about it and they should have looked into the matter two years back. Why this kind of thing has happened now? I will write to the Centre as well," Hema said.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said that while the incident was very unfortunate it did not come as a shock as "in the past too, policemen have been targetted even as chief minister and his government have been in a state of denial". "It is very sad that on one hand the people of the state are victims of lawlessness and even the police in the last four years has been targetted" he said while seeking action against the Mathura DM and SSP for intelligence failure. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Congress leaders have also slammed the state government for letting the situation spin out of control to such fatal consequences.