As police work on containing the situation in Mathura, where 24 people were killed and over 100 injured in clashes between police and members of a sect, the BJP has called for a judicial probe in the matter.
Violence erupted on Thursday when police moved to evict about 3,000 people from Jawahar Bagh park who claimed to be true followers of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Police claimed they were fired at, unprovoked.
Among the dead were superintendent of police, Mukul Dwivedi, and Farah station house officer, Santosh Yadav.
Read | Death toll in Mathura clashes rises, over 370 nabbed: Key highlights
On Friday morning, police said they had recovered a cache of arms and spent bullets from AK 47 rifles, and arrested 320 people.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav ordered the divisional commissioner of Mathura to investigate the violence while the Centre, in turn, sought a report from the state government. Union home minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Yadav and assured the state of all necessary help.
Director general of police (DGP), Javeed Ahmed, denied any political pressure and said the funding to the encroachers needed to be investigated. “Those arrested would face action under the National Security Act (NSA),” he said.
“We knew that those in Jawahar Bagh had arms and ammunition but never judged that they would use them in such a manner,” the DGP said. He, however, did not address a question on whether the incident was a failure of intelligence.
Governor Ram Naik, who is currently in Maharashtra, also spoke to CM Yadav and said that the incident should be investigated, the guilty caught and toughest of action be taken against them.
Amid calls for a CBI investigation too, the ruling Samajawadi Party (SP) said the state government was capable of handling the matter.
“The state government is capable. It has already instituted a probe into the incident and no one responsible for the incident will be spared,” senior minister and SP state in-charge, Shivpal Singh Yadav, said.
Responding to Bahujan Samaj Party president, Mayawati, demanding CM Yadav to step down, Shvipal countered: “So many heinous incidents took place in her government, did she quit?”
Members of the Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi had encroached upon about 280 acres of government land over two years, in a prolonged sit-in protest.
According to Ahmed, there was “unprovoked” firing by encroachers who pelted stones and attacked the policemen who had arrived at the park 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. Twenty-two 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.
He said 23 police personnel were hospitalized, many of them with bullet injuries.
The Uttar Pradesh government announced an ex-gratia of Rs 20 lakh each for the families of the policemen who died.
However, a grieving Dwivedi’s mother has rejected the state’s gesture.
“I don’t want money. The Chief Minister should bring back my son. The Chief Minister can take Rs 20 lakh from us, but please bring back my son. They sent my son to Mathura so that he gets killed. What will I do now? I have two sons, one is in Dubai. Before he was in Bareilly, but he was promoted to Mathura,” she said.
The DGP, who paid tributes to the deceased officers on Friday, said 124 people were arrested for creating disturbances, while another 196 were arrested under the legal provision for preventive arrests.