Mathura: In a clash with land encroachers 21 people including two police man died in Mathura. The two policemen killed in the clashes were Superintendent of Police (City) Mukul Dwivedi and Station House Officer of Farah police station Santosh Kumar, who was shot in the head.
The encroachers, members of a semi-religious sect who called themselves “Satyagrahis”, had occupied the 260-acre park at Jawahar Bagh in Mathura, nearly 150 kilometres from Delhi, for more than two years. The police had failed to evict them earlier despite an order from a court. The clashes happened yesterday when a police team went to the park to inspect the site. According to Uttar Pradesh police chief Javed Ahmed, the encroachers threw stones at the police team and also opened fire at them. “There was unprovoked firing from the members of an offshoot of the Jai Gurudev sect. Heavily armed men from the other side fired at the police,” he said and added that to control the crowd, the police resorted to lathicharge and tear gas shells and finally opened fire. According to District magistrate Rajesh Kumar, the encroachers used hand grenades and opened fire from automatic weapons after taking position at tree tops. He also said several huts in the park caught fire. Sources in the police say a gas cylinder explosions and a fire during the clashes could have caused the civilian deaths. There is heavy police presence in Mathura. Around 250 people were detained by the police after the clashes. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has directed the Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) to rush to the spot and has announced Rs. 20 lakh for the family of the deceased policemen. The encroachers had occupied the land two years ago on the pretext of ‘dharna’ demanding “cancellation” of election of President and Prime Minister of India, replacement of existing currency with ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ currency and sale of diesel at the rate of 60 litres for one rupee and petrol at the rate of 40 litres for one rupee. The high court had, acting on a PIL, recently directed the authorities to vacate the land.