Lucknow: The prime accused in the killing of a man that sparked clashes in Kasganj on January 26 was arrested on Wednesday, the police said.
Some pockets in the strife-torn western Uttar Pradesh town remained tense on a day when the state government submitted a report to the Centre on violence and a Congress delegation was stopped from marching to Kasganj.
Salim, a cloth merchang and main accused in the killing of Chandan Gupta, was arrested in Kasganj for allegedly opened fire at a Tiranga ra-lly, organised by the VHP and ABVP. Chandan’s death had led to communal clashes, police said.
Inspector general (Aligarh) Sanjeev Gupta said that Salim, who was hiding in Kasganj since the incident, has admitted that he had opened fire at Chandan from the terrace of a building.
Salim’s brothers, Wasim and Nasim, who have also been named in the murder case, are absconding, said a police official.
In the seven substantive cases registered in Kasganj, 39 accused have been arrested. In addition, a lot of preventive arrests have been made, said the police official.
On Wednesday, some pockets in Kasganj remained tense though no fresh incident of violence was reported in the past 24 hours. Police said normalcy was slowly returning and security personnel had intensified patrolling.
In its report to the Centre, sources said, the Yogi Adityanath government gave details of the circumstances that led to Chandan’s murder and steps taken to control violence and arrests.
The state government has conveyed that the police is investigating if the violence was pre-planned, they said.
Politics over the violence peaked on Wednesday when a Congress delegation, attempting to visit the violence-hit area, was stopped by district authorities in Mirhachi area in Etah on the border of Kasganj district.
District magistrate, Kasganj, R.P. Singh said that permission was denied to the Congress delegation since it was felt that their visit to the troubled areas might create problems.
An announcemnt by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) that it will soon take out “Tiranga Yatras” across Uttar Pradesh has left the police worried. It was a “Tiranga Rally” on Republic Day that triggered the violence in Kasganj.
VHP vice-president Sunil Parashar began a yatra from Shaheed Smarak in Agra on Wednesday but it was terminated quickly.
At least three shops, two buses and a car were torched after Chandan was killed in clashes between two communities that broke out when VHP and ABVP volunteers, carrying the tricolour and saffron flag, insisted that Muslims, who had gathered for flag hoisting in the Muslim-dominated locality of Baddu Nagar, give them way for their motorcycle rally.
Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik had termed the violence in Kasganj as a “shameful blot” on the state.