Varanasi: The Uttar Pradesh Police, which has been maintaining that the violence and arson which rocked the holy city of Varanasi recently was "pre-planned", has now come under scanner after images of policemen setting some vehicles on fire appeared on the social media on Wednesday.
According to reports, a photo-journalist Sanjay Gupta, associated with a leading national daily, claimed that he had clicked the photographs of some policemen torching a motorbike when violence broke out in Varanasi.
Gupta also alleged that he was badly beaten up and manhandled by a group of policemen for clicking them while they were setting the motorbike on fire.
His cameras were also broken by those policemen, who threatened him of dire consequences, Gupta claimed further.
Gupta, who sustained head injury and is being treated in a private hospital here, also showed some photographs in support of his claim.
A few other journalists and camera-persons were also injured in the incident, he added.
However, Varanasi SSP Akash Kulhari, who met him in the hospital earlier, categorically denied Gupta’s allegation.
The SSP said the photographs presented by Gupta didn’t confirm the acts of policemen torching a motorbike.
The SSP, however, added that if Gupta has any video or any such video surfaces, strict action will be taken against the guilty policemen.
PTI also quoted Gupta as saying that his camera was snatched and crushed by policemen and that a group of 20 policemen including PAC personnel beat him up brutally with their lathis.
The controversial pictures surfaced a day after UP Police claimed that the violence and arson that rocked the holy city yesterday was ''pre-planned''.
“We have evidence to say that it was pre-planned. What or who instigated them is being investigated,” SSP Akash Kulhari said yesterday while referring to violent incidents which left 25 people, including 8 policemen, injured and lot of property destroyed.
He said the saints who participated in the protest march that turned violent have been named in the FIR in their capacity as organisers, besides taking note of their actions in the run-up to the violence.
The protest march was led by Swami Avimukteshwaranand and included Ajay Rai and another Congress leader Rajesh Pati Tripathi, BJP MLC Laxman Acharya and his party leaders Sadhvi Prachi, MLA Ravindra Jaiswal and Shyam Deo Roy Chaudhaury.
Kulhari said the FIR was registered pertaining to sections of rioting, obstructing police in discharge of duty, damage to public and private property under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code.
Some youngsters also claimed that they were returning home from their work when they were arrested by the police citing their involvement in the violence.
However, the SSP denied this as well, saying the arrests have been made as per the CCTV and video footages.