After Kasganj clashes, VHP says will organize more ‘tiranga yatras’

Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government said on January 30 it could take action against Bareilly district magistrate Raghvendra Vikram Singh for a Facebook post that questioned the “new trend” of holding tiranga yatras in Muslim-dominated areas, even as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) announced it would go ahead with many more such rallies across tense western Uttar Pradesh.
One person, Chandan Gupta, was shot dead as tensions flared during a tiranga yatra (tricolour rally) in Kasganj on Republic Day, leading to sporadic incidents of violence in which shops and vehicles were burnt.
“Anarchy and corruption will not be tolerated. The UP government, including its ministers and other public representatives, are on a mission to provide benefits of development and security to all people of the state, without any discrimination, chief minister Yogi Adityanath said on Tuesday, in his first statement since the January 26 incident. “The corrupt and those spreading anarchy will not be spared,” he added.
The state’s principal secretary (home), Arvind Kumar said the decision to grant permission for the yatras had been left to the administrators of individual districts. “If any untoward incident takes place in any district, the district administration officers will be held responsible,” he said.
One such administrator — Bareilly’s district magistrate Singh — wrote on Facebook on January 29 about increasing incidents of people going to Muslim-dominated areas and shouting anti-Pakistan slogans.
“These days, a strange trend of visiting Muslim-dominated localities and shouting anti-Pakistani slogans has started. Are they Pakistanis? The same thing happened in Bareilly. Why don’t we raise anti-China slogans when the fact is that China is a bigger enemy than Pakistan,” Singh had written in the post, which was subsequently deleted.
His remarks irked senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Vinay Katiyar, who demanded strict action against the official who was in Lucknow on January 30 to attend a meeting of DMs convened by Adityanath.
Deputy chief minister, Keshav Prasad Maurya, said that disciplinary action could be taken against the 59-year-old Singh, a former army man turned bureaucrat. “He appeared to be making a statement like a party spokesman despite the fact is that government servants are bound by rules,” Maurya said on Tuesday.
Singh, who was trolled on social media, later put up an explanation that his Facebook post was not related to Kasganj and that he was referring to the law and order problem he had encountered during last year’s Kanwar Yatra in Bareilly. “I had hoped there would be an academic discussion [on his post] but unfortunately this has taken a different turn. It appears that the post (deleted now) has been found objectionable by many. That’s sad for we discuss things to improve… It’s true that Pakistan is an enemy country but Muslims are our own,” his second post said.
Meanwhile, VHP vice president (Braj prant) Sunil Parashar said the yatra will be taken out in the Braj region, which is spread over 20 districts in the Agra, Aligarh and Bareilly divisions.
Parashar said taking out a tiranga yatra was not a crime. “There is no need to seek permission as such patriotic yatras need no sanction from the police or administration,” he said.
Agra’s superintendent of police Kunwar Anupam Singh, however, maintained that the police had no information about any yatra and said that seeking permission was mandatory.
Director-general of police (DGP) Om Prakash Singh had on Monday directed superintendents of police (SPs) of all 75 districts of the state to remain alert and to restrict the movement of people whose visit might add to communal tension in the region.

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