Forty-eight people have been arrested and 67 shops sealed in connection with violent protests here last week during which several persons, including over a dozen policemen, were injured and vehicles gutted, officials said on Sunday. Deputy Inspector General of Police (Saharanpur Range) Upendra Agrawal said that two cases, naming 262 people, have been registered for rioting in Balwa area.
While one case (against 105 people) has been registered at the Kotwali Police Station, another naming 157 people has been registered at the Civil Lines Police Station, he told PTI.
Twenty-four more cases were filed by the police but these have been registered against unnamed people, invoking IPC sections related to arson, rioting and attempt to murder.
Internet services remain snapped in the district since Thursday, officials said. The town witnessed violent protests against the amended Citizenship Act after Friday prayers. Incidents of stone-pelting, arson and loot were reported from some localities during which several protesters were injured.
Police said more than 12 cops, including some sub-inspector-level officers and constables, were injured. The police, however, could not share the total number of protesters injured in the incidents.
No untoward incidents were reported on Saturday and Sunday during which, sources said, the police conducted raids and have so far arrested 48 people. Incidents of violence were reported from Madina Chowk, Kachchi Sadak and Meenakshi Chowk (Khalapad area) of the town after Friday prayers.
Former Uttar Pradesh minister and Congress leader Saeed-uz-Zaman said four cars parked at his compound were torched. The area falls under the Civil Lines police station.
In separate incidents, more than 10 two-wheelers were set afire and shops near a mosque were looted and some of them set ablaze, sources said, adding mobile shops were also looted.
CCTV cameras at a Dena Bank branch were damaged and two-wheelers parked outside torched, they said. Meanwhile, people, whose shops were looted or set ablaze and whose vehicles were torched alleged the police were not registering their complaints. There was no immediate reaction from the police on this charge.
Samajwadi Party district president Pramod Tyagi said, "We are against violence, the police should not work under pressure of the government. An impartial probe should happen. And cases filed by those whose vehicles have been torched and shops looted should also be registered. No innocent should be arrested."
He also claimed that one person has died during the violence. "There should be a probe as who killed him. Actions should be taken against those responsible." Police, however, said they have no information about any death.
Police have sealed 67 shops in the violence-hit areas on the charge that the shopowners were involved in these incidents and incited people.
The sealing assumes significance as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had recently said that the government will take action against those involved in violence and arson by "auctioning" their property to compensate for the losses.