Congress VP Rahul Gandhi to visit Saharanpur tomorrow

Slamming the opposition after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was denied to visit riot-hit Saharanpur, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday asserted that the former is a master in political tourism and photo ops which is why he made a decision to visit Saharanpur.

Chief Minister Adityanath despatched a team led by the states home secretary to Saharanpur the same night by special plane and the Union Home Ministry has rushed 400 riot-control policemen to ensure law and order Saharanpur. Mr Mishra did not name Mr Gandhi, but said political leaders will have to wait for a few days before they can plan visits to Saharanpur, about 181 km from national capital Delhi. This visit has been denied on the law and order situation.

Police conducted a flag march in the Shabbirpur, Badgaon, Chandrapura and Maheshpur villages of violence-hit Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh on Friday, though no untoward incident has been reported, an official said.

Rahul was scheduled to visit Shabbirpur village on Saturday, where dalit houses were torched on May 5.

"The permission has been denied based on the state policy of keeping the region out of bounds for leaders until the situation returns to normal", Additional Director General (ADG) Law and Order Aditya Mishra had clarified yesterday. Clashes occurred earlier after Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati's visit to Saharanpur, where one person was killed and several others were injured.

In Muzaffarnagar also, she had lashed out at the state government for the violence.

"The security measures are at place", said SSP, Saharanpur, Bablu Kumar.

Saharanpur has been witnessing inter-caste clashes since April.

In the wake of clashes between two communities in Saharanpur, the Yogi Adityanath Government transferred 174 Sub-Divisional Magistrates.

"The district administration of Saharanpur did not allow Dalits to install a bust of Ambedkar, while the procession to mark the birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap was taken out without any permission", Mayawati had said. Clashes again broke out on May 23, and one person was killed and four injured.

  • Joey Payne