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  4. Islamic outfits PFI, SIMI supected behind UP violence; toll rises to 17

Islamic outfits PFI, SIMI supected behind UP violence; toll rises to 17

Blaming "outsiders" for the violence during protests against the amended Citizenship Act, the UP government on Sunday said six people from West Bengal associated with Islamic outfits PFI and SIMI have been arrested, even as the death toll rose to 17 in the state.

PTI Reported by: PTI Lucknow Updated on: December 22, 2019 21:58 IST
Anti-CAA violence UP
Image Source : PTI

On Saturday, violent protesters set vehicles on fire outside a police post in Kanpur

Blaming "outsiders" for the violence during protests against the amended Citizenship Act, the UP government on Sunday said six people from West Bengal associated with Islamic outfits PFI and SIMI have been arrested, even as the death toll rose to 17 in the state.

The toll in Kanpur rose to three on Sunday with the death of a 30-year-old man who was injured in Friday's anti-CAA protests.

The UP Police in a statement on Sunday said that 879 people have been arrested and 5,312 taken into custody as a preventive measure.

So far, 164 cases have been registered, it said.

IG (Kanpur range) Mohit Agarwal said that two people had died on Friday in clashes between protestors and police.

He said that Mohd Raees (30), who sustained critical injuries in Babupurwa, was admitted to Hallet Hospital here on Saturday for treatment and he succumbed on Sunday.

The IG also said the role of AIMIM workers and SIMI activists was being suspected behind the violence. "Cases have been registered against a large number of SIMI workers," he said.

ADG Kanpur zone Prem Prakash told reporters that they are looking into the possible angle of ISI funding.

In a related development, authorities "detained" a Trinamool Congress delegation at Lucknow airport when it was heading to meet the families of those killed in the clashes.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited Bijnor district where she met families of two people killed in the violence and demanded a judicial probe in the incident.

After days of violence, the situation remained largely peaceful in the state capital and other districts like Meerut, Firozabad, Kanpur and Bijnor. Internet services have been suspended in several areas till Monday, while prohibitory orders remained in force across the state.

Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh Subordinate Services Selection Commission (UPSSSC) postponed examinations for recruitment of junior assistants and computer operators scheduled for December 24 and 26 to January 4 and January 10 respectively as many candidates were unable to download their admit cards.

At a hurriedly convened press conference here, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma alleged "outsiders' role" in the incidents of violence reported from various districts and added that protesters had used illegal firearms.

He said that six people hailing from West Bengal's Malda district, associated with the PFI, had been arrested by the state police.

"There is involvement of Popular Front of India (PFI). They have a connection with SIMI. Six people from Malda have been arrested," he said.

Students Islamic Movement of India or SIMI is a banned terror outfit.

Sharma's statement came on a day a four-member TMC delegation from West Bengal, which was planning to meet the families of those killed in the state during protests, was "detained" at Lucknow airport on Sunday afternoon.

One of the delegates Nadimul Haque, an MP, said he and other party members were staging a sit-in near a hangar at the CCS airport.

TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been one of the most vocals critics of the new law and has been leading protests in her state on the issue.

Sharma told reporters that as many as 288 police personnel sustained injuries, of which 62 were due to firearms, during the violent protests.

He blamed the opposition Samajwadi Party for making the situation worse. "The opposition is inciting people by making false statements," he said.

Sharma's remarks came minutes after SP chief Akhilesh Yadav attacked the ruling BJP alleging that the new law has been brought in to "divert attention" from the "virtually destroyed" economy and rising unemployment.

Addressing a press conference here, Yadav said people were made to stand in queues to withdraw cash after demonetisation and now due to NRC they will have to stand in queues for their rights.

Meanwhile, as a first step towards making the protestors pay for damaging public properties during the agitations, the UP government began the process of identifying the vandals, with the Lucknow district administration forming a four-member panel to assess the damage.

The Rampur district administration is also taking steps to attach properties of 25 people, identified as the ones vandalising public properties, officials said on Sunday.

The Gorakhpur police had on Saturday released photographs of around 50 people allegedly involved in protests after the Friday prayers. The police said the troublemakers have been identified from the video footage.

The move comes days after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that properties of all those involved in violence would be confiscated to offset the damage.
He had said that the wrong-doers would be identified with the help of CCTV footage, video clips and photographs.

The CM had said that property of those involved in the violence would be seized and auctioned to compensate for destruction of public assets during the protests.

The action is based on a Supreme Court order that rioters would be strictly made liable for the damage and compensation would be collected from them.

Meawnhile, UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh challenged SP leaders to visit West Bengal and see for themselves how the Trinamool Congress (TMC) runs the government in that state.

Singh's broadside at the SP came hours after its chief Akhilesh Yadav blamed the ruling saffron party for not addressing burning issues like unemployment and bad state of the economy.

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