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Gorakhpur: DM, SSP removed
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, January 29
As violence from Gorakhpur spread to six more districts in three divisions of east Uttar Pradesh, popularly called Purvanchal, the state government today showed the door to both the DM and the SSP. While S.K. Bhagat replaced SSP Raja Srivastava, Rakesh Goel replaced DM Dr Hariom.

Although the state government provided no official reason for their removal, it appears that their decision to arrest the influential BJP Member of Parliament from Gorakhpur, Yogi Adityanath, on Sunday cost them their job.

Supporters of the hardliner MP indulged in widespread violence creating havoc not only in Gorakhpur but also in the adjoining rural areas and six other districts of Purvanchal.

Yogi Adityanath’s influence in Purvanchal is by virtue of his heading the Gorakhnath mandir math and the aggressive Yuva Hindu Vahini, a sort of inheritor of the Bajrang Dal.

Responding to the arrest of the Yogi, his supporters set ablaze state roadway buses in virtually every district of Gorakhpur, blocked the main Gorakhpur-Varansai Highway and even tried to set afire a passenger train near Gorakhpur. The effected districts are Kushinagar, Deoria and Maharganj in the Gorakhpur division, Sidharthnagar in the Basti division and Azamgarh town of Azamgarh division.

An appalling incident took place in the heart of the city in Gorakhpur when lawyers of the district court held a demonstration at the Ambedkar crossing in the afternoon. They later stormed into the DM’s office indiscriminately smashing tables, throwing chairs, breaking window panes and roughing up the DM’s personal staff. The district magistrate was not present in his office at that moment.

With the curfew being extended to the Gorakhnath police station area today, four areas in Gorakhpur are under curfew. In the three police station areas where curfew was imposed on Saturday there was a seven-hour relaxation today.

Today’s escalation of violence came soon after the district administration decided to make 130 preventive arrests on Sunday evening to thwart repeated efforts by local politicians to hold ‘Hindu sammelans’ to provoke violence in the already tense communal situation.

Amongst those who were arrested were local MP Yogi Adityanath, MLC Y.D. Singh; both of the BJP; and MLA Dr Radha Mohan Das Aggarwal belonging to the Hindu Mahasabha. Speaking to Tribune News Service, ADM (City) P.K. Aggarwal confirmed the arrests.

In view of the main Moharram festival on Tuesday, police presence was further strengthened in Gorakhpur and the adjoining districts with the RAF also being rushed to the division along with the PAC.

Outgoing DM Hariom said yesterday that it was extremely important to maintain peace during the next two days as the Muslims were observing Moharram and various processions were to be taken out.

Speaking to the local media he stated, “We do not want to give the impression that certain people can hold the city at ransom and do whatever they wish. Maintaining peace is our responsibility and we will do it at all costs.”

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