Akhilesh orders judicial probe into Mathura turmoil

Single judge to submit report in two months

Updated - November 17, 2021 01:40 am IST

Published - June 07, 2016 06:34 pm IST - Lucknow

Twenty-nine persons, including two police officers, were killed during clashes between encroachers and police in Mathura last week.

Twenty-nine persons, including two police officers, were killed during clashes between encroachers and police in Mathura last week.

Even as the Supreme Court refused to entertain a plea for a CBI inquiry into the Mathura incident, the Samajwadi Party government on Tuesday ordered a judicial probe into the violent encounter between the State police and squatters that resulted in the death of two dozen persons, including two police officers, last week.

The government had earlier constituted a State-level probe under Aligarh Divisional Commissioner Chandrakant, while Opposition parties had insisted on a CBI probe or an SC-monitored investigation.

Facing mounting pressure from Opposition parties and allegations of State patronage to Ramvriksh Yadav, the leader of the encroachers, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav appointed a one-man judicial commission under retired Allahabad High Court judge Justice Mirza Imtiaz Murtuza. The Commission has been asked to submit its report in two months.

It will examine the “reasons and circumstances” which led to the incident, the information compiled by the Information Bureau and the role of both the district and supervisory police and administrative officials, a government spokesperson said. The probe will also outline all the aspects of previous “strategies and action” adopted by the police and administrative officials in clearing the sprawling 280-acre Jawahar Bagh of encroachments. Measures to prevent such incidents from re-occurring would also be suggested.

In its report to the Centre, submitted on Monday, the State government blamed the “failure of local authorities to assess the situation”.

The BJP, which has demanded the removal of State PWD Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav, also the CM’s uncle, for alleged patronage to the encroachers, has planned to take on the ruling party on land grabbing cases.

Party chief Amit Shah told reporters in Lucknow that the U.P. government was shielding the “SP goons” who were encroaching government properties in the State and if voted to power, the BJP would identify these goons who were illegally occupying land in every village, and punish them. Mr. Shah said his party would launch a campaign from Wednesday to check land-grabbing in the State. The party would advertise an email ID to which people could send complaints.

Mr. Shah further targeted the SP government saying it was not interested in a free and fair inquiry. “We had demanded a CBI probe but they are not willing. We said those patronising Ramvriksh Yadav should be identified but they have no interest in it,” he told party workers earlier in the day.

Responding to Mr. Shah’s charges, the ruling party said it “condemned” the BJP’s “personal attacks and character assassination” of SP leaders.

“A judicial probe has been ordered into the Mathura incident so that facts become crystal clear. Even then, the kind of propaganda the BJP president and Union Home Minister are spreading is not healthy for democracy,” SP Cabinet Minister Rajendra Chaudhary said.

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