Anti-CAA stir: Death toll in UP violence rises to 15, police post torched in Kanpur
Lucknow, Dec 21: A police post was torched in Kanpur on Saturday amid fresh incidents of anti-citizenship protests in Uttar Pradesh's several districts including in Rampur and Aligarh as the toll in the violence in the last two days rose to 15.
Over 260 policemen were also injured, of whom 57 received gunshot wounds, IG (Law and Order) Praveen Kumar told PTI on Saturday. "Women and children were used as shields by the protestors," Director General of Police O P Singh said, maintaining that the police did not open fire.
"All the deaths that took place have been in cross firing and this will become clear in postmortem examination," the DGP told reporters.
"We are clear and transparent in this. If anyone died due to our fire we will conduct a judicial inquiry and take action. But nothing happened from our side," the DGP stressed.
Police had no option but to resort to lathi charge to chase them away, he said, adding that tear gas shells were used for dispersing the mob. At least 15 people have lost their lives in Uttar Pradesh since protests broke out on Thursday against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, IG Kumar said.
In Kanpur, anti-CAA protestors on Saturday set Yatimkhana police post on fire and indulged in heavy brickbatting, leading to injury to some people. Police had to lob tear gas shells and use canes to chase them away, and fire tenders were rushed to control the flame.
ADG (Kanpur) Prem Prakash said Rapid Action Force has been called out along with 'Vajr' vehicles to control the situation. Samajwadi Party MLA Amitabh Bajpai and former party MLA Kamlesh Tewari were arrested as a precautionary measure and their vehicles seized.
Officials said crowds gathered in areas like Babupurva, Nai Sadak, Moolganj, Dalelpurva and Haleem College and police in large numbers was deployed to keep a watch over the situation.
Clashes broke out in Rampur between anti-CAA protesters and police on Saturday, resulting in injuries to several people, including policemen, officials said.
Around 400 to 500 people gathered here to protest against the Act amid a bandh call and five of them were taken into preventive custody, they said. Five protesters were hospitalised and the condition of one of them was stated to be critical, District Magistrate Aunjaneya Singh said.
"Over a dozen policemen also suffered minor injuries during stone pelting by the protesters, including children aged between 12 and 18 years," he told PTI.
Another dozen protesters suffered minor injuries in tear gas shelling by police, Singh said.
The DM suspected the involvement of non-locals in the protest and said, "Police did not open fire anywhere, yet one protester had a gunshot injury."
A bandh call was given by the protesters in Rampur on Saturday even as section 144 of the CrPC, which bars assembly of people, is in force in the region and internet remains suspended.
After a lull of four days, AMU campus again witnessed protests on Saturday with hundreds of AMU non-teaching staff joining hands with AMU teachers' association, protesting against the CAA and "police atrocities" against the agitators in various parts of the state on Friday.
Police had to use mild force on Friday evening to disperse a large crowd of protestors at Shahjamal under Delhi Gate police station in Aligarh.
SSP Aligarh Ashok Kulhari said protests have been peaceful and shahr mufti Khalid Hamid playned an important role in difusing tension.
AMU vice chancellor Tariq Mansoor has set up a one-man internal inquiry by retired chief justice of Chhattisgarh high court VK Gupta into the clashes on December 15-16.
In the western UP district of Kasganj, internet services were suspended following tension, but police described the situation as under control. On Friday, four deaths were reported from Meerut district, three from Firozabad and two each in Kanpur and Bijnor, and one in Sambhal.
An 8-year-old boy was killed in a stampede in Varanasi when a violent mob was being chased by policemen. On Thursday, one person was killed in Lucknow during clashes, officials said, adding so far 218 people have been arrested in the state capital.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is reported to have cancelled all his programmes outside the state capital. "None indulging in violence will be spared," Adityanath said in a tweet, asserting that every citizen will be provided security.
Officials said in view of the court directives, valuation process of the damage in incidents of clashes was going on and preparations were on to serve notices for recovery from the protestors in Lucknow.
Adityanath met Governor Anandiben Patel, who appealed to the people to maintain peace and asked them to not pay heed to rumours.
Claiming that outsiders were involved in the violence, the DGP said presence of members of political parties and of NGOs also could not be ruled out. In Muzaffarnagar, 25 policemen were injured in stone pelting on Friday and SP City got pellet injury when someone in the crowd used an illegal firearm, SP Abhishek Yadav told PTI on Saturday.
He said over 200 protestors have been identified. Internet services were suspended across major cities in Uttar Pradesh, following state government orders. BSP president Mayawati on Saturday asked the Centre to give up its "stubborn stand" and withdraw its decisions.
"Now that voices opposed to the CAA and NRC have started coming from within the NDA, the central government should give up its stubborn stand and withdraw its decisions," she said in a tweet in Hindi.