Monday, 30th October 2017

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Meerut stick for ‘going soft’ on lynch protest

The government cracked the whip after BJP leaders accused the two officers of going soft on minority community members

By Piyush Srivastava in Lucknow
  • Published 3.07.19, 6:41 AM
  • Updated 3.07.19, 6:41 AM
  • 2 mins read
Yogi Adityanath. He has said the transfers were aimed at strengthening law and order (PTI file photo)

The Uttar Pradesh government has transferred the inspector-general of Meerut range and the district’s police chief, cracking the whip after local leaders of the ruling BJP accused the two officers of going soft on members of the minority community.

Inspector-general Ram Kumar and senior superintendent of police Nitin Tiwari had apparently failed to anticipate that the minority activists and some local college teachers who had taken out a procession in Meerut city on Sunday to protest the rise in lynchings would turn violent.

Although the two officers had reached the spot within 30 minutes and camped there, the local BJP leaders had claimed the police allowed the protesters to hold a public meeting at the Faiz-e-Aam Inter College ground and take out a procession from there to Hapur Adda.

A police source said the leaders were also furious because a leader of a social organisation that had led the protest was released.

A media release from the state’s information department said 22 police officers had been relocated. The names of Kumar and Tiwari figured on the list, according to the order dated July 1.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has said the transfers were aimed at strengthening law and order.

On Sunday, the Muslim community members and the group of teachers, marshalled by the social organisation named Yuva Seva Samiti and chanting anti-BJP slogans, were midway through their 4km march when the police baton-charged them in the Prahalad Nagar locality near Indira Chowk. The protesters had retaliated by throwing stones, leaving 10 of them and two cops injured in the clash.

Adityanath has sent Kanpur IG Alok Singh and Barabanki SSP Ajay Sahani to replace Kumar and Tiwari.

Kumar has been posted as IG, Provincial Armed Constabulary, Central Zone, and Tiwari as SSP of the 6th Battalion of the same paramilitary force, postings traditionally considered less important.

The Yuva Sewa Samiti had claimed on Sunday it had approval for the programme but Tiwari had said no such approval was taken.

The state government had on Monday blocked Internet services for several hours in Meerut to defuse the situation after the protesters had appealed for a Bharat bandh in protest against the baton charge.

Laxmi Kant Bajpai, former Uttar Pradesh BJP chief, and other local party leaders had held a meeting with administrative and police officers in Meerut on Monday and openly blamed Kumar and Tiwari for the situation.

“The police should have prevented any public meeting at Faiz-e-Aam and the procession. The police officers allowed the goons to instigate violence. We had informed the CM about the negative role of the police officers,” Bajpai told local reporters.

A police officer in Lucknow said: “The BJP leaders were angry with our officers because they released Badra Ali, the president of the Yuva Sewa Samiti. The fact remains that although the police had booked him and over 50 others for violence and arrested 28 by Monday night, we didn’t get any CCTV footage to prove the charge against Ali.”

The police had said on Monday afternoon that Ali was among those who had been arrested. But he was let off in the evening.

A local source said Ali held a meeting with members of the community at Faiz-e-Aam Inter College on Tuesday and said the state government was trying to implicate him in a false case just because he was spearheading a movement against rising incidents of mob lynchings, which was becoming a trend under BJP rule.