The very first law and order challenge for Yogi’s government has come from the Saharanpur. The clash among leaders of the Dalit and Thakur communities has been going blood-spattered in the state and also involved Muslims into it. The events of violence started from Shabbirpur Village, which is a home to around 600 Dalits and over Thakurs. The Dalit victims of the clashes claimed that the upper caste Thakurs didn’t allow them to install a statue of B R Ambedkar on the occasion of the Ravidas temple in the village. On May 5, a group of Dalits protested to a parade of Thakurs to mark the birth anniversary of Rajput king Maharana Pratap, which led to violence in which one person was killed and 15 were injured.
A 62-year old Dal Singh, who is suffering from his injuries at the district hospital in Saharanpur said, “With Yogi Adityanath, a Thakur, at the helm of the government, members of his community are asserting their authority. During the BSP rule, they used to say ‘do not even touch Dalits. They are high-voltage power lines’. Now, they have unleashed carnage. This government is barely two months old, five years is a long time.” On Sunday, thousands of the Dalit rights activists, supported by a western UP group called as Bhim Army, assembled at Jantar Mantar in Delhi to protest against the caste-based violence in Saharanpur. Despite not getting the permission by the Delhi Police, near about 5,000 people gathered to participate in the protest over ongoing clashes in Uttar Pradesh. After the visit by Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) to a village where clash was going, there was violence a fortnight ago where one was killed and 20 were injured.
As per the reports, a group of Dalits allegedly threw stones at the homes of a few Rajputs in Shabbirpur before BSP supremo Mayawati’s rally, which increased the tension among two communities once again. On the other hand, some senior cops intervened to avoid another big clash between them. In a fresh case of clashes in the state, a truck carrying Dalits were going back to the village from the rally spot when it was attacked, supposedly by the Thakurs. In these fresh clashes, a Dalit man was killed and two were critically injured. After the violence, as a minimum, five additional companies of police forces were sent to the area to handle the situation. However, the Yogi government blamed the BSP’s chief and former chief minister Mayawati for visiting in the area for the fresh violence on Tuesday. The Uttar Pradesh government criticized Mayawati by issuing a statement which stated that former Chief Minister and BSP’s chief Mayawati’s visit led to tension again. “It was expected that the visit of the former chief minister would help restore peace in Saharanpur but this has not happened and it’s sad. Peace had been restored in Saharanpur but the former chief minister’s visit led to tension followed by the unfortunate incident where one person has died,” the statement added.
The Uttar Pradesh Police Chief Sulkhan Singh refused to comment on the UP’s government statement of blaming Mayawati. However, Singh said, “I may not allow politicians to visit Saharanpur.” Sulkhan Singh had visited Saharanpur just some days ago and assured to restore law and order as soon as possible. The senior most officer of the Meerut Zone of the UP police Anand Kumar said, “We are still investigating the exact circumstances of the death whether it has anything to do with the rally.” The violence on Tuesday was the fourth major incident in the total clashes in Saharanpur in the past three weeks. Until now, 30 people have been arrested in connection with the violence and two senior police officers have been suspended as well.