Debating India


U.P. bandh turns violent

Friday 27 July 2001

LUCKNOW, JULY 26: One person was killed and 27 others, including an Additional District Magistrate and some policemen, were injured today during the Statewide bandh called by the Samajwadi Party against the murder of party MP, Phoolan Devi, even as she was cremated in Mirzapur.

One person was killed in Varanasi where police opened fire to quell a group of SP activists, which resorted to forcible closure of shops and damaged vehicles of a police officer and a magistrate in the Shir Goverdhan area. The party claimed the person died in police firing. An ADM, a police circle officer and five policemen were injured in the clashes.

At least 20 others, including some policemen, were injured in Bhadoi, Mirzapur, Etawah, Sitapur and Mainpuri districts during stone-pelting incidents and skirmishes between SP workers and policemen, the reports said quoting district officials.

Normal life was affected at several places as SP workers clashed with police, pelted stones and resorted to rail and road blockades.

Mirzapur and Bhadoi, which formed part of Phoolan Devi’s parliamentary constituency, along with Etawah bore the brunt of the violence.

While a spokesman for the SP claimed that over 10,000 party workers were arrested at different places, officials said 1,000 persons were taken into custody.

The bandh was also ``enforced’’ in Allahabad, Kanpur, Moradabad and Lakhimpur Kheri districts, but no major untoward incident was reported. Effigies of the Prime Minister, Mr. A. B. Vajpayee, the Union Home Minister, Mr. L. K. Advani, and the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr. Rajnath Singh, were burnt at several places. Effigies of the three leaders were also burnt in Kolkata and Mumbai by SP workers.

While business establishments remained closed, government offices, banks and schools and colleges functioned as usual.

According to reports received at the State police headquarters, the bandh evoked a ``mixed response,’’ but the SP State unit chief, Mr. Ram Sharan Das, claimed it was a ``total success’’.

The State Home Secretary, Mr. A. K. Bisnoi, told reporters that the bandh was peaceful and that the law and order situation in the State, barring Varanasi, was normal.

Late in the evening, lakhs of tearful mourners bid adieu as Phoolan Devi’s mortal remains were consigned to the flames here at the Choubepur Ghat on the banks of the Ganga in Mirzapur.

People raised slogans against Mr. Vajpayee, Mr. Advani and Mr. Rajnath Singh at the funeral attended among others by the SP president, Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav, and the general secretary, Mr. Amar Singh.


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