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400 anti-riot policemen head to Saharanpur as caste tensions flare

LiveMint logoLiveMint 25-05-2017 PTI

New Delhi: The centre has sent 400 anti-riot police personnel to Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh to help the state restore peace in the region, where caste clashes have claimed two lives.

The forces were sent after a request from the UP government, which also despatched a preliminary report to the home ministry with details on incidents of violence. It said apart from the two deaths, 40 people were injured. “Four companies (around 400 personnel) of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been sent to Saharanpur to help the state government maintain law and order following a request of the Uttar Pradesh government,” home ministry spokesperson Ashok Prasad said.

The request for the specialised anti-riot RAF and the preliminary factual report came after the home ministry asked the state government to send details of the incidents which had taken place in the western Uttar Pradesh district. Prasad said one person was shot dead and two people were injured in clashes between two communities on 23 May, following which three FIRs were registered and 24 people arrested.

On 5 May, another person was killed and 15 people were injured in a fresh bout of violence. Nine FIRs were registered on that day and 17 people were arrested. About a dozen police vehicles were set ablaze and 12 policemen were injured on 9 May. Violence first broke out in Saharanpur about 40 days ago following a procession to mark Ambedkar Jayanti.

In view of the continuing violence, the state government on Wednesday suspended the district magistrate and senior superintendent of police. The divisional commissioner and the deputy inspector-general were transferred. Internet and mobile messaging services were also suspended in the district to prevent the spread of rumors which the administration feared could spark further trouble.

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