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Rudrapur Riot: Uttarakhand police face flak over firing on protesters, death toll goes up to four

October 4, 2011

The Uttarakhand police is facing flak for the allegedly indiscriminate firing in Rudrapur town that had witnessed communal violence after desecration of a religious text.

The State government has ordered a high-level inquiry to ascertain the circumstances in which police resorted to firing that resulsted in the death of four persons.

The District Magistrate BVR Purushottam, DIG Kumaon range Amit Sinha and SSP GS Martolia were shifted on late Tuesday evening for the abject failure in dealing with law-and-order situation.

Red-faced over growing criticism and particularly as images of violence and police shooting people point blank emerged, the State government removed these officers.With the state going to polls soon, the police firing and killings is all set to become a major issue for the political parties.

The trouble begun last week when a section of minority community complained that torn pages of the holy book were found along with flesh. Local groups allege that the administration didn't take the complaint seriously then and no action was taken. This led to growing discontent and tension built up in the town.

A demonstration was taken out subsequently. But the police fired at the protesters, resulting in deaths of two persons. Two more persons succumbed to injuries in the hospital later. The clashes between members of different communities were also reported. The role of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) has once again come under scanner for the excessive use of force.

Meanwhile, the situation in Rudrapur is tense but under control, especially, after the RAF was pressed into service. Curfew was imposed in the town soon after the clash. Rudrapur is a city in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand, which was formerly known as Uttaranchal.

Muslim leaders have criticised administration in the BJP-ruled state for its failure to prevent the communal riot and stop the large scale looting of shops apart from arson and destruction of property. The fact that the state government released just Rs 1 lakh each to kin of those who died in the police firing has also been criticised.

TIH Bureau

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