A day after Uttar Pradesh Police stated that Rahul Upadhyay – whose ‘death’ added fuel to the rampant violence across Kasganj district – is alive, he himself came forward on Tuesday and said that he was not present there at the time of riots.
"One of my friends informed me about rumours on the social media about me getting killed during the Kasganj violence, but I was not present in Kasganj at the time of riots. I had gone to my village and I am absolutely fine," Upadhyay told ANI.
Earlier on Monday, Sanjeev Gupta, IG Aligarh Range had said, “Contrary to rumours spread on social media, Rahul Upadhyay is alive”.
He also confirmed that four people were arrested for spreading rumours about Upadhyay’s death.
Upadhyay had allegedly died, along with another person named Chandan Gupta, following stone-pelting by a mob on a motorcycle rally taken out to celebrate the Republic Day.
Enraged by the false rumours of his demise, the mob staged violence and torched several vehicles and shops over the course of three days, resulting in the death of one person.
Till Sunday, the security forces had apprehended at least 112 people. The special forces intensified vigil, Rapid Action Force (RAF) and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) took out flag marches. Curfew was imposed, the internet was suspended, and three drone cameras had been deployed for aerial surveillance.
Explosives were found during house-to-house searches following which the state police chief said the stringent National Security Act (NSA) would be invoked against the culprits.
Kasganj violence: SP shunted out; incident shameful, ‘blot’ on UP, says Governor
Governor Ram Naik on Monday termed the Kasganj communal clashes as a “blot” on the state and asked the state authorities to initiate measures to ensure such incidents did not recur.
Describing the clashes as "shameful", Naik observed that this was for the first time in the last 9-10 months that such an incident occurred in the state.
Under fire over the violence, the UP government went into damage control mode and shunted out Kasganj Superintendent of Police Sunil Kumar Singh.
Piyush Srivastava was appointed the new Kasganj SP, officials said.
Singh was sent to Police Training School, Meerut, in the same rank, they said.
The state authorities also presented a cheque of Rs 20 lakh to family members of Chandan Gupta, who was killed in the violence.
At least three shops, two buses and a car were torched after Gupta was killed in clashes following stone-pelting by a mob on a motorcycle rally taken out to celebrate Republic Day.
Volunteers of organisations like the Vishva Hindu Parishad, Hindu Mahasabha and ABVP had taken out the rally - 'Tiranga Yatra'. After passing through the Kotwali area, they were about to pass through a Muslim dominated area when some people objected to its passage.
This resulted in heated exchange of words and eventually escalated to firing in which Gupta lost his life, according to officials.