The prime accused in the murder of Chandan Gupta in Kasganj was arrested today as the strife-torn western Uttar Pradesh town, which saw communal clashes last week, moved towards normalcy despite tension in some pockets, officials said.
The UP government submitted a report on the incidents in Kasganj to the Union Home ministry conveying that the police were probing the violence and whether it was pre-planned, an official said.
“Saleem, the main accused, has been nabbed,” IG, Aligarh range, Sanjeev Gupta said.
Aged below 30, Saleem, and his two brothers, Naseem and Waseem, were accused of killing 22-year-old college student Chandan Gupta, police officials said.
The killing had led to further violence last week. At least three shops, two buses and a car were torched after Gupta died of gunshot wounds. Communal clashes occurred in the town last week following stone-pelting by a mob on a motorcycle rally taken out to celebrate Republic Day.
“Saleem has admitted that he had opened fire at Chandan,” IG Sanjeev Gupta claimed.
Additional DG (Law and Order) Anand Kumar said that according to the FIR and statements by some of the witnesses, Saleem was the person who opened fire from the roof or balcony of his house.
“He is one of the main accused listed in the FIR. We are interrogating him thoroughly and assessing his culpability in the entire episode,” Kumar said.
He added the police was now trying to link bullets found in the body of the killed youth with some of the weapons seized. In case there is a forensic match through a ballistic examination, things will stand clear, he said.
ADG Kumar said that in seven substantive cases registered in Kasganj, 39 arrests were made. In addition, a lot of preventive arrests have also been made, he said.
Kasganj police officials said that, overall, 150 arrests had been made in connection with the violence.
Asked about ‘Tiranga Yatras’ being taken out by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) in several districts in the backdrop of the Chandan Gupta murder, Kumar said the tricolour is a national symbol and should not evoke any controversy.
“The district administrations in all might and effort will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the Tiranga Yatra, if at all permitted in the district, is conducted peacefully,” he said.
To a question on a purported video clip showing revolvers and sticks being used on Friday in Kasganj, the ADG said the police was trying to verify the footage.
Officials said that while Saleem was hiding in Kasganj, his two accused brothers were yet to be traced.
Kasganj SP Piyush Srivastava said notices pertaining to attachment of properties of the accused were pasted outside their houses.
District authorities, meanwhile, stopped a Congress delegation in Mirhachi area of Etah, close to Kasganj border.
The delegation was denied permission due to law and order issues, officials said.
District Magistrate, Kasganj, R P Singh refused permission to the Congress delegation apprehending that their visit to the troubled areas might create more problems.
Tension still prevailed in a few pockets of the town.
Police said normalcy was slowly returning and security personnel had intensified patrolling in sensitive areas.
Stray incidents of violence were reported from Kasganj yesterday but the situation was by and large peaceful today, they said.
The UP government, meanwhile, sent a report to the Union Home ministry on the violence and steps taken to control it.
The state government’s report contains details about the arrests made by the UP Police and circumstances leading to the death of Chandan Gupta, an official said in New Delhi.
The state government has conveyed that the police were investigating the case and all facts were being ascertained to know if the violence was pre-planned, he added.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said yesterday that his government was committed to providing security to each and every citizen.
“Anarchy has no place in the state,” he said promising strict action against the perpetrators of violence.
The UP government has come under fire over the clashes with even Governor Ram Naik terming the Kasganj violence a “blot” on the state. Opposition parties have also attacked the state government over the clashes.