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India: 2 police officers transferred after communal violence in Uttar Pradesh town

Violence erupted last week as members of low-caste Dalit community in Shimlana village of Saharanpur objected to a procession by Thakur community. Photograph: (Reuters)

WION Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India May 10, 2017, 10.17 AM (IST)

Two police officers in Uttar Pradesh were transferred from Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur district Tuesday, a day after caste-based violence once again broke out in the northern Indian town.

Yesterday, a police post was burnt and over 20 vehicles torched. Several instances of stone pelting and clashes were reported across Saharanpur which has been witnessing caste-based violence since Friday.

Superintendent of Police (SP) - City Sanjay Singh, and SP (Rural) Rafeeq Ahmed have been transferred from Saharanpur, official sources said. Prabal Pratap Singh is the new SP (City), Vidya Sagar takes over from Ahmed.

Peace prevailed in the city today.

Monday's clashes broke out after a Dalit organisation sought permission to hold a "maha panchayat" in the city's Gandhi Park yesterday to demand compensation and relief for those affected in last week's inter-caste clashes.

Police acted against the people who had gathered for the "maha panchayat" which in turn led to tension and a stampede-like situation. Senior Superintendent of Police Subhash Chand Dubey said the district administration had not permitted any such gathering. 

In the ensuing violence, several commuters were manhandled and their vehicles set on fire. Some media persons were also beaten up and their vehicles damaged.

Police teams were pelted with stones. A police post was set ablaze while several police vehicles were damaged. Protesters also blocked the Chakrota road near Nazirpura. A building was burnt down on Malhipur road.

Violence gripped Saharanpur last week after members of the Dalit community objected to a procession by the Thakur community to celebrate the birth anniversary of Rajput king Maharana Pratap.

One person was killed and at least 15 people, including a police officer, were injured as members of the two castes clashed.

Members of the two sides pelted stones and hurled bricks at each other. At least 25 Dalit houses were set on fire.

Riot gear-clad police personnel were deployed across the district as the tensions spread to neighbouring villages.

Several first information reports (FIR) have reportedly been filed in the case.

Police have launched an investigation into the incident to arrest the guilty.

(WION with inputs from Reuters, PTI)

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