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Riots in Saharanpur: Explained

 Three people were killed and 19 others in Saharanpur clashes
A year after communal violence claim lives of 62 people in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, fresh clashes in adjoining Saharanpur erupted on Saturday. The latest clashes broke out over land dispute in the wee hours of Saturday among members of Muslim and Sikh community. Three people were killed and 19 others, including policemen, injured in the clashes.

Reason behind Saharanpur riot: Construction over disputed land

  • The root of the clashes is the long standing land dispute between Muslims and Sikhs in Kutubsher area of Saharanpur. For the last few years, both sides have been claiming ownership of the small piece of land adjacent to Gurudwara near railway station.
  • On Friday night, some Sikhs started constructing an extension to the Gurdwara premises on the disputed site following which clashes broke out between both communities in wee hours of Saturday. The two sides indulged in brick batting and arson, leaving two persons dead and many injured.

Sikhs' version of Saharanpur riot:

  • The Sikhs claims that they purchased the land 15 years ago and since then they have been taking care of it. They say the land is adjacent to their Gurudwara and it is rightfully belongs to them.
  • According to some reports, Sikhs claim that the violence are pre-planned as Muslims from Moradabad and Muzzaparpur were called in numbers. They say that Sikh members were only indulged in stone pelting, while Muslims were using gun, swords against them.

Muslims' claims about Saharanpur riot:

  • The Muslim community claims that the land belongs to the Wakf Board and there cannot be any construction without their permission.
  • Some media reports say that a petition was filed by Moharram Ali Pappu in Saharanpur civil court ten years back, stating that a mosque had been built on the disputed land and it must not be used by Gurudwara. But, in May 2013, the Additional District Judge passed order stating that the land belonged to Gurudwara.

Saharanpur communal clashes -- What happened so far?

  • Police have arrested 38 people for rioting and arson.
  • District administration has imposed curfew and shoot-at-sight orders in the area.
  • Around 18 companies of additional force including eight of PAC, six of CRPF, two of RAF and two of ITBP are reportedly deployed in the troubled areas.

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