Monday, March 19, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

8 more killed in Kanpur violence
Deploy troops: Oppn

Kanpur, March 18
Eight more persons were killed in incidents of violence in the curfew bound areas of Kanpur city today even as indefinite curfew in areas in the city continued for the third successive day today without relaxation.

With these fresh casualties, the death toll since Friday last has risen to 17. However, the unofficial sources put the death toll at 20.

The officials described the situation as “grave” with reports of firing, arson, explosions and looting pouring in from various localities of the city.

A police spokesman said today that at least five persons were killed in fresh incidents of violence in the Chamanganj and Beconganj localities, some of the worst affected areas of the city.

The rioters also attacked police stations but the situation was saved by the security personnel.

The police today opened fire in the curfew bound Beconganj and Chamanganj localities to disrupt the rioters who tried to target the police with crude bombs, bricks and stones and set afire public properties and shops.

Besides, the violent mob also indulged in arson in the Sisamau locality of the city and tried to damage a place of worship in the Bajaria area this morning.

Religious places were also damaged in other localities of the city, the spokesman said.

Trouble in Kanpur was sparked off on March 16 when three Muslim organisations, including the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) had staged a demonstration in protest against alleged burning of copies of Koran at different places including Delhi.

The curfew was imposed when the demonstrators had turned violent.

The demonstrators had turned violent when the police had prevented them from burning an effigy of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

As the situation worsened, the district administration had clamped indefinite curfew in five police station areas — Chamanganj, Beconganj, Moolganj, Raipurwa and Anwarganj by Friday evening. The curfew was extended further in four more areas of Colonelganj, Bajaria, Sisamau and Kotwali. Besides this undeclared curfew like situation prevailed in some other localities too.

The administration had also put the Army on an alert as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, the administration had also postponed the university, high school and intermediate board annual examinations in view of the prevailing situation in the city.

Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh Government today ruled out any possibility of calling out the Army in the riot-affected Kanpur town.

State Chief Minister Rajnath Singh said the communal flare-up in the city was the result of an international conspiracy to defame his government.

Addressing a press conference here, he described the situation in Kanpur as “tense” but under control. The police has been asked to deal firmly with the trouble mongers, particularly in the curfew-bound nine police station areas.

He said that the state police was competent to deal with the situation with the assistance of the Rapid Action Force (RAF). Presently, six companies of the RAF have been deployed in the sensitive areas of Kanpur.

Commenting over the role of the Student Islamic Movement of India activists in the incidents, the Chief Minister said: “We also have such information but all this could only be confirmed after a probe is conducted.” The role of ISI was also not ruled out, as they are always trying to create communal disturbances in the country, he added.

The main Opposition Samajwadi Party today demanded the deployment of the Army in Kanpur as they alleged that the state paramilitary force of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) had gone ‘berserk’ against a particular community.

Addressing a press conference here, state SP President Ram Saran Das Gujar, Vice-President Balram Yadav and Leader of the Opposition in the legislative council Ahmed Hasan deplored the Kanpur district administration for its total failure in controlling the situation.

The opposition leaders further alleged that the PAC was biased which had resulted in the escalation of violence.

Criticising the Rajnath Singh government for what they said its “total failure” in controlling the law and order situation and the communal flare-up, the SP leader said: “It seems that the whole state would engulf into a communal fire if the present government continued for some more time”.

Expressing deep sympathy towards the families of those killed, including the ADM, the SP leader said a five-member party delegation would visit the riot-affected areas tomorrow to get a first-hand information of the situation.

Mr Das himself would lead the delegation which would comprise of Bhagwati Singh and Balram Yadav, both vice-presidents of the state unit, former minister and MLA Gouri Shanker and general secretary Fida Husain Ansari. UNI

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