Themorningbellbd.com Desk, June 3: At least 21 people, including two senior policemen, have been killed in clashes between the police and about 3,000 members of a sect who had encroached upon a park in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura, 150 km from capital New Delhi in India.
Superintendent of Police Mukul Dwivedi died of severe head injury after he was hit with a stone and also suffered multiple heart attacks on Thursday evening.
Station House Officer Santosh Kumar was shot in the head on Thursday evening. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has ordered an investigation in this regard.
UP police chief Javed Ahmed has said a huge cache of arms including rifles, grenades and swords has been recovered from the site, a 260-acre park that had been occupied by the sect for the last two years.
Thursday’s clashes happened when a police team visited the park for an inspection. Javed Ahmed said members of the sect, who call themselves “satyagrahis,” threw stones at the police team and then opened fire.
They also used grenades and automatic weapons after taking position on tree tops, a senior bureaucrat Rajesh Kumar said. He said several huts they had built in the park caught fire. 19 members of the sect have been killed in the clashes.
“There was unprovoked firing from the members of an offshoot of the Jai Gurudev sect. Heavily armed men from the other side fired at the police,” Mr Ahmed said, adding that the police used batons and tear gas to control the crowd.
Police sources said there was a gas cylinder explosion and the fire could have caused the civilian deaths. The police have detained about 250 people.
“Spoke to UP CM Shri @yadavakhilesh and reviewed the situation in Mathura. I have also assured him of all possible help from the Centre, Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted this morning.
Akhilesh Yadav has directed senior policemen to rush to the spot and has announced compensation of 20 lakh each for the families of the policemen who have died.
The park had been taken over for the last two years by a faction of the followers of a self-declared godman in Mathura called Baba Jai Gurudev. They had arrived for a protest and never left.
Multiple attempts to evict them failed despite a court order. Officials and cops said members of the sect had assaulted them at least seven times in the last two years when attempts were made to evict them.