Lucknow: Two policemen were killed and 12 others were injured as police tried to evict around 3,000 encroachers from a park in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh.
The people from a semi-religious sect, who called themselves “Satyagrahis”, had occupied the park at Jawahar Bagh for more than two years. The police had failed to evict them earlier despite an order from a court. The 260-acre park is valued at crores of rupees. Today, clashes started as a police team went to the park.
“There was unprovoked firing from the members of an offshoot of the Jai Gurudev sect. Heavily armed men from the other side fired at the police,” said Javed Ahmed, the chief of Uttar Pradesh police. To control the crowd, the police resorted to lathicharge and tear gas shells and finally opened fire.
Daljeet Chaudhary, a senior police officer, said a police station in-charge died in the clashes. He had been shot in the head. A senior police officer who was injured in the clashes, died later. Casualties are feared on the other side as well. Calling the situation “tense”, Mr Ahmed said reinforcements, including senior police officers, are being sent to the area.
The encroachers, who have been on a protest for two years, demand “cancellation of the elections” of the President and Prime Minister of India. They also want that diesel be sold at 60 litres a rupee and petrol at 40 litres a rupee. The existing currency, they also say, should be replaced.