24 killed ....

Pakistan Observer - - IN­TER­NA­TIONAL -

the north­ern city of Mathura.

“They were fir­ing at us from tree-tops. Oth­ers were hurl­ing stones or as­sault­ing us with sticks and other weapons. Two of our men were wounded and they died in hos­pi­tal,” said Ut­tar Pradesh po­lice chief Javeed Ah­mad.

“Soon af­ter the at­tack, we got re­in­force­ments and launched a counter-at­tack on the camp and suc­cess­fully cleared the area.”

Speak­ing to re­porters in Mathura, Ah­mad said some of the Swad­hin Bharat Vid­hik Satya­grah sect’s fol­low­ers had set fire to huts which were stor­ing gas cylin­ders and ex­plo­sives dur­ing the clear­ance op­er­a­tion.

“Twenty-two of their peo­ple have died, out of which 11 have died due to burn in­juries. One of the dead is a woman,” he added.

Po­lice have also re­cov­ered sev­eral dozen pis­tols and ri­fles along with live am­mu­ni­tion rounds.

The op­er­a­tion was launched af­ter au­thor­i­ties won a court or­der to re­move hun­dreds of tents and makeshift wooden struc­tures from a 270acre patch of land the sect had been oc­cu­py­ing since late 2014.

Tele­vi­sion im­ages and pic­tures from the scene showed that many of the huts where mem­bers of the sect had been liv­ing had been set alight, with smoke bil­low­ing across the area.

In post­ings on so­cial me­dia, Swad­hin Bharat Vid­hik Satya­grah’s fol­low­ers de­scribe them­selves as po­lit­i­cal and so­cial rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies. Their de­mands in­clude the abo­li­tion of elec­tions and cheaper fuel for ev­ery­one.—AFP

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