A rampaging Muslim mob pelted stones and fired upon police after Friday namaz in Jama Masjid at Uparkot area of Aligarh, UP. 8 people including 6 policemen were injured, two of whom are critical. The mob also pelted stones on a temple and tried to loot a bank.
CO Pratham Vishal Pandey, Inspector Rajiv Sirohi, SI Mohammed Akram, SO (Jawan) Amit Kumar, SO (Delhi Gate) Anuj Kumar, Madar Gate Police Chowki in-charge SI Rajkumar Singh were the injured policemen. Police initially retreated in the face of the violent mob which even had firearms – it took them around 2 hours and the use of tear gas and air firing to finally bring the situation under control. Police, RAF and PAC have now been deployed in ‘sensitive’ spots across Aligarh.
On the surface, the mob was ‘demanding’ increased compensation for the family of two brothers (Waseem and Ashu) who were shot dead on 7th August. Incidentally, police had managed to crack the case within 6 hours of the murders and had arrested Kachori-seller Suresh as the prime suspect. As per the demands of the victim’s family, the district administration had requested the State Government to provide compensation of Rs 25 lakh each for the two brothers’ families.
Conspiracy to attack police?
After Friday namaz, some self-declared leaders raised the issue of Rs 25 lakh compensation in front of the Jama Masjid congregation. City Mufti (religious leader) Khalid Hamid informed everyone that the district administration had already acted on this issue and even showed the copy of letter forwarded to State Government. Then the demand changed to Rs 50 lakh each as compensation, along with Government jobs and flats for the deceased’s families. The Mufti managd to convince most people to disperse, but a section of people seem to have made up their minds to indulge in violence.
Someone raised the demand for public hanging of Suresh (the accused arrested for the murder), while others started chanting anti-BJP and anti-Yogi slogans. By then SP City Atul Srivastava, SSP Rajesh Pandey, DM City Shyam Bahadur Singh and SDM Pankaj Verma had reached the spot and tried to reason with the protesters. As police was trying to divert the mob towards Chandan Shahid road, a scuffle broke out within the group and one youth got injured. When police intervened to calm matters, the mob turned on the police itself and started firing and pelting stones on them. Around 15-20 rounds were fired by the mob, which forced the police to retreat.
The mob damaged police & RAF vehicles. They also attacked the Barah Saini Dharamshala Mandir, and tried to loot Grameen Bank of Aryavrat located within the Dharamshala premises – the alert bank manager Sudhir Saxena closed the Channel gate on time to foil this plan. The temple pujari Harish Chandra Bhardwaj locked himself in a room along with his wife to save his life.
SI Rajkumar Singh and SO (Jawan) Amit Kumar got hit in the head with stones and are critically injured. It is suspected that Rajkumar Singh, who is known as a tough, no-nonsense officer in the area was a special target of the rioters.
“This was an organized attack. We are looking at video footage to identity those involved. Tough action will be taken. Those misusing social media will also not be spared,” said IG Aligarh, Dr. Sanjiv Gupta.