Lucknow: In the first major fallout after the Mathura clashes, the Uttar Pradesh government on Monday shunted out the District Magistrate and the Senior Superintendent of Police of Mathura even as it dismissed BJP's charge that there was political pressure on police to not evict encroachers from Jawahar Bagh.
"#UPCM@yadavakhilesh instructions, DM/SSP Mathura has been transferred. New incumbents will join soon," Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who has been under attack over the violence, tweeted.
District Magistrate Rajesh Kumar has been put on the wait list and has been replaced by Special Secretary PWD Nikhil Chandra Shukla.
SSP Rakesh Kumar Singh has been replaced by SP Jalaun, Babloo Kumar, an official statement said.
In its report to the Union Home Ministry, the state government rejected BJP's charge that there was political pressure on police to not evict encroachers from Jawahar Bagh park and said the recent violence there was the result of the failure of local authorities.
Links to Naxals have not been ruled out given the quantity and type of weapons used by Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi - an outfit that claimed to owe allegiance to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
The state government admitted that last Thursday's clashes between the police and squatters belonging to the cult at the public park was the result of the failure of the local police to assess the situation.
The report said the police was forced to act before they had made adequate preparations following an attack by the cult members.
According to reports, a police contingent led by Superintendent of Police Mukul Dwivedi had gone to Jawahar Bagh on June 2 for a recce when it came under attack. In the clashes that ensued 29 people, including Dwivedi and the SHO of the local police station Santosh Kumar, were killed. Cult leader Ram Vriksh Yadav was also found dead.
The members of the obscure cult were heavily armed and outnumbered the police force which went to evict the encroachers from the Jawahar Bagh park last week on a court order, the report said, noting that grenades and automatic weapons were freely used against the police.
Chief minister's uncle, Shivpal Yadav, who is a minister, has been accused by BJP of being a patron of the cult which moved into the 280-acre park in 2014.
Shivpal has denied any links to the cult, demanding that the BJP "either prove its allegations or apologise publicly".
IG (Law and Order) H R Sharma told reporters that post mortem examination has been conducted over 19 bodies. While 18 bodies have been cremated, 10 out of 11 charred bodies have been identified.
So far, 45 cases have been registered against 3,000 encroachers.
A day after the clashes, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had admitted on Friday that there were "some lapses" on the part of the police in Mathura during the anti-encroachment drive and that there was no information that protesters had so much of weapons and ammunitions with them.
"There were some lapses. Police should have gone with full preparation and after holding talks, but there was no information that they would be having so much (arms and ammunition," Akhilesh had said.
The transfers were ordered by the chief minister even as Aligarh Divisional Commissioner Chandra Kant launched a probe to ascertain the circumstances leading to the incident, which left the Samajwadi Party government red-faced and invited sharp criticism from the opposition.
Targeting the SP government, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the law and order situation in the state has collapsed in the state and asked it to write to the Centre to institute a CBI probe on the clashes.
"There is more to it than meets the eye. What does not meet the eye needs to be revealed. If you really want to get to the bottom of it, you should write to the Centre seeking a CBI probe. If UP government recommends a CBI probe we will surely accept it. It is not an ordinary incident," Singh had told a rally in Amroha yesterday.
BJP chief Amit Shah has also accused Shivpal Yadav of patronising the cult.
A BJP delegation met UP Governor Ram Naik and demanded CBI inquiry into Mathura violence and sacking of Shivpal Yadav, even as party workers held state-wide demonstrations and clashed with police.
The delegation was led by BJP state president Keshav Prasad Maurya, party spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said.