SP MLA, BSP Leader booked for inciting communal violence at Kandhla Railway Station in UP

Kandhla Railway Station on Delhi Division
The Kandhla Railway Station on the Northern Railway’s Delhi Division where it all began

Kandhla (KQL): Tension prevailed in Shamli district of Uttar Pradesh after a violent mob clashed with the police force at Kandhla police station, leaving 17 injured, including 16 policemen. The protesters also torched 12 vehicles parked on the police station premises and damaged furniture and other property. The sole protester who was injured received gunshot injuries.  However, police claimed they had used only lathicharge and rubber bullets to control the mob and denied firing. They also said they had recovered three .315 bore empty shells from the violent protesters.

An angry muslim crowd from Kandhla, a Muslim majority town, blocked the rail track on Saturday protesting against the alleged ill-treatment of a few Tablighi Jamaat volunteers on a local train near Badaut, in Baghpat.

“The injured, Deen Mohammed, has been referred to Meerut,” Ajay Chauhan, the in-charge of Kandhla police station, said. Shamli had been among the worst-hit areas during the 2013 riots in western Uttar Pradesh.

Meerut Zone IG Alok Sharma said the men had attacked the Kandhla police station following mere rumours that three of the people staging a protest on the tracks near the Kandhla railway station had been killed in police firing. The railway track protest was being held over the alleged assault on Friday on five members of the Tablighi Jamaat travelling on the Janata Express from Delhi to Saharanpur for a religious gathering.

The IG said the protest had led to halting of two trains, and police had to use lathicharge as the demonstrators, numbering around 5,000, started pelting stones at trains.

Local SP MLA (Kairana area) Nahid Hasan had joined the demonstrators on the railway tracks. His aide said he had gone there to pacify the mob.

Social Media and local Whatsapp Groups abuzz with messages claiming another Godhra like situation emerging in Kandhla Railway station area

Days after Muslims in the Kandhla area of Shamli district in Uttar Pradesh clashed with the police over alleged assault of Tablighi Jamaat workers, the social media and local Whatsapp groups were abuzz with messages claiming a Muslim conspiracy to perform “another Godhra” in Shamli.

An angry crowd from Kandhla, a Muslim majority town, blocked the rail track on Saturday protesting against the alleged ill-treatment of a few Tablighi Jamaat volunteers on a local train near Badaut, in Baghpat.

The crowd threw stones at trains at Kandhla after which the Railway Police had to resort to lathi charge.

Muslims at Kandhla Railway Station on Delhi DivisionAfter the clash, hundreds of social media users, mainly from western Uttar Pradesh, and led by those ideologically affiliated to the right of centre, alleged that Muslims in Kandhla captured and detained Hindu passengers at the railway station in an attempt to portray the incident as “another Godhra”.

Mass messages were circulated mainly by numbers originating in western Uttar Pradesh claiming that “another Godhra” was enacted by Muslims at the Kandhla railway station on Saturday and alleged that the police and the media remained silent.

The messages also claimed that the police did not take any action against the “Muslim protesters who allegedly misbehaved with the Hindu passengers”.

Muslims stopping a passenger train at Kandhla Railway Station on Delhi DivisionShamli SP warns rumour-mongers

Shamli Superintendent of Police Vijay Bhushan, however, rejected the rumour mongering and claimed that action was taken against the protesters at the Kandhla police station.

“Thousands of Muslims in Kandhla have stopped the 04735 Bikaner-Haridwar express and have captured and detained several Hindus. Where is the media and where are the political leaders,” claimed a Whatsapp message accessed by this correspondent.

“Muslim rioting mob is looting trains on Saharanpur-Delhi route. The Samajwadi Party MLA Nahid Hasan is leading the mob,” claimed another Whatsapp message.

Shamli remained tense on Sunday with markets in Kandhla remaining closed.

The conspiracy theories which were rejected by the authorities found endorsement on Twitter. Social media users with rightist leanings used the hashtag “GodhraAgain” which was trending on Twitter on Saturday.

Protesting muslims atop a passenger train engine at Kandhla Railway Station on Delhi Division“Why media is silent on Shamli incident. Are they waiting for something worse and big to take place. #GodhraAgain,” tweeted Rohit Chahal, national secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the BJP.

The Shamli Superintendent of Police said the police were maintaining a watch over rumour mongers and would take action against them.

Virender Singh, BJP leader in western Uttar Pradesh, alleged that “there was a clear directive to the police and the administration not to act against Muslims who were manhandling Hindu passengers at Kandhla railway station.”

“If you want justice for the alleged misbehaviour of Jamatis you should also apprehend those who misbehaved with passengers at the Kandhla railway station. And if the police can’t do justice then we will do justice on our own,” Mr. Singh warned.

‘Clear bias’

“This is clear bias and discrimination against Hindus and Jats. It only Vehicles torched by protesting muslims near Kandhla Railway Station on Delhi Divisionhelps them nurse grievance against Muslims and will get expressed in a big retaliation when their patience crosses its limits,” he said.

A day after a violent mob belonging to a minority community clashed with police in Shamli district leaving 17 injured, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) on Sunday registered an FIR against Samajwadi Party MLA Nahid Hasan and 2,000 unidentified people.

Inspector Ajay Kumar of RPF police station in Shamli said a case against Hasan — MLA from Kairana in Shamli — and 2,000 others was lodged on a complaint filed by Traffic Inspector Pawan Kumar under Section 174 of the Railways Act (obstructing running of train, etc). Two other FIRs have also been lodged at Saturday night.

A mob clashed with the police at railway tracks and later at the Kandhla police station on Saturday. Near Kandhla railway station, a crowd had held a protest over the alleged assault on five members of Tablighi Jamaat on Saharanpur-bound Janta Express. The protestors were demanding the arrest of miscreants who had assaulted the Tablighi Jamaat members.

Deen Mohammed (22) had received gunshot injuries in the protest — which had halted two trains on the tracks. The Shamli police, however, has claimed that it had only fired teargas and resorted to lathicharge.

Later, the mob attacked the Kandhla police station following rumours that three protestors had been killed in police firing on railway tracks. Protestors torched 12 vehicles at the police station and damaged property.

SP MLA Hasan claimed he has been wrongly named in the case and had gone to the railway track to pacify the mob on the request of the police. “I went there as the Shamli police requested me to pacify the mob,” Hasan said over phone.

Shamli SP Vijay Bhushan said police had registered two FIRs on Saturday night itself. “In both cases, former chairman of Kandhla Nagar Palika, Haji Islam, has been is named. No one has been arrested,” he added.

“In the first FIR, registered in connection with the arson at the police station, Haji Islam and around 150 unidentified people have been booked. The second FIR is related to the protest at the railway tracks where miscreants pelted stones on the police. Six persons, including Haji Islam, have been booked along with 2,000 unidentified people,” said Kandhla SHO Ajay Kumar Chauhan.

Despite repeated attempts Haji Islam could not be contacted. District BSP president in Shamli, Arvind Kumar, said Haji Islam is an old leader but was currently not holding any position in the party.

Meanwhile, Deen Mohammed underwent an operation on Sunday in a Meerut hospital. A native of Kairana, Deen is a daily wage labour. His elder brother Aash Mohammed said Deen had gone to the protest site along with other locals. “Doctors have removed bullet from his body. He is stated his to be stable,” he added.

IG (Meerut Zone) Alok Sharma said it will be investigated how Deen suffered a bullet injury during the protest. “The police are collecting photographs and video footage from media houses to ascertain the identity of the accused involved in violence at both railway tracks and police station,” he added.

On Saturday night, Shamli police had transferred the probe into alleged assault on Tablighi Jamaat members to GRP in Badaut. A case, against six unidentified miscreants, was initially was registered with Kandhla police on Friday night.

Inspector (GRP Shamli) Sunit Dutt said: “We will seek help of locals to identity miscreants. We suspect them to be daily passengers.”