Mathura violence : toll mounts to 24 ; 376 nabbed

Mathura : At least 24 people, including two police officers, were killed and more than 100, including the City Magistrate, were injured in arson and clashes between agitators illegally occupying a prime area and police in the temple city here last night. Police and Official sources have so far confirmed death of 21 people including SP(City) and an SHO. However, unofficial sources claim that casualties could be around 25.

Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan and Director General of Police Zaved Ahmad and senior officials including Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Daljit Choudhury and the Home Secretary, have rushed to the spot on directives from Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. ADG Mr Choudhury told UNI here today that of the total deaths, 11 were due to burn injuries following explosion of LPG cylinders and other explosives. He said one person was also lynched to death by mob. Trouble started when the police party attempted to enter the Jawahar Bagh premises by breaking its periphery wall. Sensing trouble, the encroachers resorted to "unprovoked" firing, taking the police party by surprise. Mob also resorted to widespread arson, setting police and other government vehicles and property afire. The ADG said that the situation was under control and 374 arrests have been made so far. Station Officer of Farah Police station Santosh Yadav and SP (City) Mathura Mukul Dwivedi were killed last night when activists of Swadheen Bharat Subhash Sena (SBSS) opened fire at the police party that attempted to evict it from Jawahar Bagh. Mob of encroachers attacked and fired upon police yesterday, they have been identified, he said. There was an unlawful assembly, they had explosives including grenades and pistols, rifles which they used to fire upon police, Mr Choudhury said. He also claimed that huge quantity of illegal arma and ammunition, including country-made guns, rifles, pistols and cartridges were recovered from the Jawahar Bagh area. Search operation is still underway, the ADG added. Over 100 people, including the city magistrate Ram Araj Yadav, were also injured in the clashes that lasted for almost four hours. The situation in the city was tense while more than 500 policemen were camping around the Jawahar Bagh area. Curfew like situation prevailed in the city.

Main accused Rambriksh Yadav, who was leading the agitation, has been arrested late last night along with his supporters. The government has announced compensation of Rs 20 lakhs for the deceased police officers. Divisional Commissioner of Agra has been entrusted to probe the entire incident. Chief Minister Mr Yadav has assured of stern action against the culprits. Meanwhile, in Delhi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh was in touch of the situation. Mr Singh spoke to the Chief Minister over telephone to seek first hand briefing over the situation and assure of all possible help from the Centre. "Anguished over the loss of lives in the incidents of violence in Mathura..,..May God gives strength to the bereaved families to bear the loss", Mr Singh wrote on his official twitter handle today. "Spoke to UP CM Shri @yadavakhilesh and reviewed the situation in Mathura..,..I have also assured him of all possible help from the Centre". Eds rest pick up suitably from earlier.

Tags:    Mathura violence 
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