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Swadhin Bharat chief was killed in fire, say police

Investigators inspect the situation inside a park where clashes between police and encroachers claimed several lives, in Mathura on Friday.

Investigators inspect the situation inside a park where clashes between police and encroachers claimed several lives, in Mathura on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Saurabh Das

Forty eight hours after an attack by the cult group “Swadhin Bharat Subhash Sena” led to unprecedented violence in Mathura, the State police confirmed on Saturday evening that the key accused in the violence and head of the armed group Ramvriksh Yadav was dead. His body was identified by his associates who are in police custody, tweeted Director General of Police Javeed Ahmed.

Yadav was killed, along with 22 of his followers, in their clash with the police when over 3,000 of his followers led an attack on a small police team on Thursday evening.

“Some of the dead in the Mathura operation identified. Ramvriksh Yadav’s body identified by associates. Family intimated for final confirmation,” tweeted Mr. Ahmad.

Charred to death

IG (Law and Order) S.R. Sharma told the media that Yadav was among the 11 people who were charred to death in the fire that was caused by gas cylinder explosions set off by the encroachers.

On Saturday the death toll rose to 27, with three more among the injured encroachers dying, IG (Agra) Durga Chandra Mishra said.

Several other bodies were yet to be identified as they were charred beyond recognition.

Importantly, police were investigating allegations that some of the policemen at Jawahar Bagh park, ran away to save their lives when the armed cult followers started beating Mathura Superintendent of Police (City) Mukul Dwivedi after dragging him inside.

“Now that the manner in which two police officers were killed was being probed by the senior officials of the department, several facts had emerged. One of which is that some members of the police team fled from the scene when Dwivedi was attacked,” said one police officer who did not want to be named.

Earlier on Saturday, the police registered a case against 12 named and 3,000 unnamed people in Sadar Bazar area.

The park remained out of bounds for media as the search operation continued. Police found petrol bombs, several identification and Aadhaar cards.

Yadav who came to the park on official permission for two days in April 2014, went on to illegally occupy the 28-acre government land as his personal fiefdom with a company of armed groups and a parallel system of governance.

From over 200, the group swelled to over 3,000. Soon, what might have started as a random case of encroachment, became in just over a year Yadav’s “empire” which had thousands of followers and almost an independent functioning city.

According to Mr. Ahmed, “Ramvriksh was trying to run an empire and almost a state in itself inside Jawahar Bagh. Yadav’s state had a small clinic, ration depot, vegetable market, a jail, salons and luxury cars.

Established a ‘township’

Inspector General Agra Zone Durga Charan Mishra told the media that the cult group had established almost a “township” inside the Jawahar Bagh.

“They had started running a government with provisions for giving punishment to people who do not follow orders. They had set up courts, jail barracks and also ‘pravachan’ centres,” said Mr. Mishra.

Yadav, who led a splinter group after he was expelled by Jai Baba Gurudev, went on to recruit more people for his group on the promise of “economic freedom by applying the principles of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.”

Meanwhile heavy police forces were deployed in Mathura even as its residents were yet to come out of the shock.

Earlier during the day the BJP MP from Mathura, Hema Malini, who led a protest by the party, was prevented from entering the violence-hit area, citing ongoing probe and combing operation. Ms. Malini demanded a CBI probe into the violence and so did the Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh who arrived in Mathura on Saturday monring and met the families of the deceased police officers.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 7:24:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Swadhin-Bharat-chief-was-killed-in-fire-say-police/article14384687.ece

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