The clashes in Western Uttar Pradesh’s Kasganj town have led to tragedy for three families — one of them lost a 22-year-old while two others have their loved ones recovering in local hospitals. So far, 112 people have been arrested for the fresh violence that erupted on Saturday after the cremation of the young man, who died during the clashes on Friday.
Chandan Gupta died of a bullet injury in the clashes that broke out during a “Tiranga bike rally” by activists of the RSS-backed students’ group, ABVP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. He was participating in the rally.
A student of commerce at a local college, Chandan Gupta he was involved with a local non-profit. His parents say he participated in activities like blanket distribution and blood donation drives. His family is now staging a dharna in Kasganj asking for swift justice in the case.
A cellphone video of the rally accessed by NDTV shows hundreds of young men, many holding saffron flags, standing at one of the streets. Reports say they were asked by locals to move off, but they refused. In the video, they could be heard saying they won’t change route. Slogans were being shouted, that said everyone will have to say “Vande Mataram” if they wish to live in India.
Reports say the violence started soon after, during which stones were thrown and gunshots were heard.
Naushad, a labourer who was on his home from his work, got caught in the crossfire. A bullet hit his leg. “I could not react in time. Before I knew it, I felt a deep pain in my leg,” said Naushad, who is at a local hospital. Doctors say he is out of danger.
His eye has been operated upon at a hospital in Aligarh, where he is still admitted.
“I never imagined something like this could happen,” Mr Akram said. He said he saw the mob but in the darkness, thought they were cops. “Soon that mob set on me. I folded my hands and pleaded with them. But they assaulted me. After beating me and threatening to set my car on fire, they let me go. I guess some of them had some sanity left,” he said.