24 killed as police clash with little-known sect in Mathura
POLICEMEN KILLED UP chief minister says administration underestimated squatting cult’s firepower
Twenty-four people including a superintendent of police official were killed and hundreds injured in clashes between security forces and members of a little-known revolutionary sect armed with sophisticated weapons in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura, officials said on Friday.
The violence erupted when police moved in to the Jawahar Bagh Park on Thursday to evict about 3,000 people claiming to be followers of freedom-fighter Subhash Chandra Bose.
Among the dead were Mathura superintendent of police Mukul Dwivedi and Farah station house officer Santosh Yadav.
Police described the leader of the squatters Ram Vriksha Yadav as a man with radical views. The self-styled revolutionary organisation he led, Swadhin Bharat Vidhik Satyagrah, had a slew of bizarre demands including abolition of elections and the Indian rupee.
On Friday evening, a Bareilly court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Yadav and instructed police to present him by June 20.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav admitted that the government was taken aback by the amount of firepower the sect possessed.
“There were some lapses. Police should have gone with full preparation and after holding talks, but there was no information that they would be having so much (arms and ammunition,” he told reporters.
Yadav ordered the divisional commissioner of Mathura to investigate the violence while the Centre, in turn, sought a report from the state government. Union home minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Yadav and assured the state of all help.
Police arrested more than 300 people and recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition from the park which resembled a war zone the day after. Smoke billowed from huts allegedly burnt down by encroachers to stop police from moving in.
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