What triggered the clashes?
The clashes in Saharanpur broke out in the wee hours on Saturday after members of the Sikh community began construction on a disputed piece of land in the Kutubsher area on Friday evening, which was opposed by the local Muslims - who claimed the land belonged to them. The Sikh's however rejected their claims saying they bought the land long back. This cohesion triggered the clash on Friday evening.
Both the sides indulged in heavy brick-batting, arson and opened fire and there were reports of several shops being gutted in the clash.
4 major clashes reported in UP since Muzaffarnagar riots, 7 killed so far
As per reports, Sikhs alleged that the violence seemed pre-planned as Muslims from Moradabad and Muzzaparpur were also called in numbers. Gun shots were fired on the Sikhs and people with swords ran after the Sikh community while the Sikh groups indulged in stone pelting. Shops belonging to Sikh community in Nehru Market were set on fire by the angry mob.
Late police action:
As usual police sprang late into action and resorted to firing rubber bullets to rein in the rampaging mobs. At least five policemen were also injured in the violence. Twenty people were arrested as curfew and shoot-at-sight orders on Sunday remained in force in the city.
"20 have been arrested so far... a peace committee meeting will be held in the afternoon... Curfew situation will be reviewed after that," said Sandhya Tiwari, District Magistrate, Saharanpur.
The district administration has deployed 8 companies of PAC and 10 companies of CPMF in the troubled areas while imposing curfew across six police stations in the city.
Around 600 paramilitary personnel have been sent to the area after Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav last evening, promising all possible assistance from the Centre.
UP Government's failure in maintaining law and order:
The recent incident of communal violence has once again questioned the credentials of Akhilesh Yadav regime. The state government has proved yet again that it has totally failed to control the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. Ever since the deadly Muzaffarnagar riots, the Samajwadi Party government has been on the back foot for not taking tough actions that might check such incidents at first place. But, the government kept sitting and did nothing this time again.
Had the local administration and police force was sent at ground zero on Friday night itself, riots would have been averted. But, sources said that the local administration waited for the entire city to burn in communal flare and sprang into action only after the damage was being done. As per reports, the government first let the entire situation being politicised.
Television reports showed representatives of the Sikh community openly blaming local Congress leaders for inciting the riots. They alleged that the Congressmen politicised the entire situation to appease a particular community as they opposed construction on the land. But the state government in the know of all the tension brewing up in the area did nothing. Nor did the Akhilesh Yadav Government order the local administration to stop politicisation of the situation.
UP's dismal record in controlling communal violence:
Akhilesh's UP has been on the top in terms of such incidents but it seems the government has learnt nothing from its past mistakes. As per a Home Ministry report, the state recorded 247 incidents of communal violence in 2013 as compared to 118 in 2012 - a whopping 30% rise.
Also the state has witnessed 14 major riots ever since Akhilesh Yadav took over the reign as Chief Minister. Soon after last year's Muzzafarnagar riots, the Centre had issued an advisory to all states asking to take measures and strengthen ways to curb these incidents. But, the government's vote-bank politics didn't allow it to put any mechanism for stopping such incidents.
Due to Akhilesh Government's misgovernance, peace in Saharanpur has been disturbed after a period of 24 long years. Last time the city had witnessed communal clashes was in 1992, post-demolition of Babari Masjid in Ayodhya.
There is a question possibly on every tongue that ‘when will Akhilesh Yadav wake up from his slumber?'