The team comprising eminent human rights activists including Dr. John Dayal and Kavita Krishnan were released after an hour and escorted out of the Kasganj district limits.
LUCKNOW: A fact-finding team comprising eminent human rights activists from Delhi including Dr. John Dayal and Kavita Krishnan was stopped Tuesday noon when they were coming out of the Kasganj district jail premises after meeting some families whose relatives were arrested following the violence in the town last week. The team was taken to the local police station but released after an hour and escorted out of the district limit.
“Police chief Ashok Kumar Singh of Soron police station Kasganj waylaid our fact finding team on way from district jail, threatens us saying did we not know the district is under prohibitory orders Section 144, and is now taking us to the police station,” Dr. Dayal posted on his Facebook wall around 11:50 AM on Tuesday.
The seven-member team of All India People’s Forum had come to Kasganj on Monday and met several affected families from both communities. They also wanted to meet the family of Chandan Gupta, the youth who was killed in the firing during the clashes on the Republic Day in Kasganj, but they were not allowed by the local administration.
At 1:20 PM, Dr. Dayal posted that the team was released and was being escorted out of the Kasganj towards Aligarh. “Free at last!! An armed Police posse from Kasganj escorted an All India People’s Forum team to Kasganj district border with Aligarh…”
Besides him and Kavita Krishnan, other team members were Prem Singh Gehlawat, Kiran Shaheen, Leena Dabiru, Tabrez Ahmad and Vijay Kumar.
The team had reached Kasganj on Monday and interviewed families from all local communities. They were just about leaving the district jail on Tuesday noon after meeting some families there when they were stopped and taken to the police station.
Kavita updated the developments on Twitter. She wrote that the team had spoken to the District Magistrate and the Jail Superintendent, yet they were stopped on way out of the jail premises and threatened to be arrested. They were taken to the police station.
“The police is objecting that we spoke to family members of innocent Muslim & Hindu youth jailed,” she tweeted.
“At least one juvenile is reportedly held in adult jail, against the law. Hindus & Muslims alike outside jail blamed BJP, VHP men on bikes as real rioters who are not arrested yet,” she further said.
“Police that isn’t arresting rioters is harassing fact finding teams that are reporting the facts. Why, what are they hiding? Why are they scared of us speaking to families of those injured or arrested?”
“We’re now being escorted by police outside Kasganj! Cops didn’t allow us to meet Chandan’s family. But we could meet many others…” she wrote.
She and her team went to Aligarh and met some victims who are being treated there.
She told Caravan Daily: “We are fine, visited injured people in Aligarh also, now returning to Delhi.”
The clashes had erupted on the Republic Day when over 100 youths carrying Tiranga and saffron flags on bikes insisted on passing through a Muslim-dominated locality where residents were about to hoist the national flag. The locals had put up chairs on the road, had flag post, rangoli and tricolor balloons hanging from overhead wires. They were just to hoist the flag when the bike rally reached there. In videos, members of the bike rally were seen shouting provocative slogans against Muslims.
In the firing during the clashes, Chandan Gupta, 21, was killed and a laborer Naushad was wounded. Later that night, one Akram Ali was brutally assaulted while he was passing through Kasganj in his car. In the violence that continued at least for next three days, dozens of shops and vehicles of the minority community were torched by rioting mobs.
More than 120 people have been detained/arrested for the violence and clashes — around 80 of them are from the minority community.