June 26, 2012
District Magistrate Yogendra Kumar Bahal and Superintendent of Police (SP) OP Sagar were suspended as disciplinary action. The rioting had occurred after an incident of rape in Asthan village in Nawabganj under Kunda tehsil in Pratapgarh.
The rioters had targeted a Muslim settlement and burnt all the houses in the locality. Such was the mob fury that for hours, despite the information that armed rioters were setting ablaze houses, police officials were not able to enter the area.
Even the local mosque was damaged when rioters torched the houses. There was anger among people when a Dalit girl was raped, as police had allegedly not taken action timely. Then, when the violence began, police again failed to take timely action and as a result the houses were targeted, robbed and then burnt down.
It is suspected that a political enmity could be behind the riot. A woman Reshma Bano was elected pradhan recently and this was resented. The news of rape of a Dalit girl was used to inflame passions and hundreds of people from outside attacked the village.
Nearly 150 victims, most of them women, children and injured persons, are currently kept in a government college in Kunda. This is the second such incident in Uttar Pradesh when police failed to quell communal violence.
Earlier, four persons were killed in a riot in Kosi Kalan in Mathura. The victims said that they have no place to live as the houses were charred and razed to ground. The mob led by Babbu Pandey and Dharmendra, arrived with petrol cans and set the dwellings ablaze.