One person was killed and four others were injured as fresh violence erupted today in Saharanpur which has been witnessing inter-caste clashes since April.
Some unidentified persons set fire to at least 12 houses of Thakurs in Shabbirpur village ahead of the arrival of BSP chief Mayawati there, SP (City) Prabal Pratap said.
District Magistrate N P Singh and SSP Subhash Chandra Dubey rushed to the scene and pacified members of the Thakur community.
After Mayawati wrapped up her visit to the village, a sword-wielding mob attacked a Bolero of some BSP supporters, who had come from Sarsawa to attend her event.
Police sources said the attackers allegedly fired their guns and wielded batons, killing Ashish (24), who hailed fom Sarsawa town, on the spot and injuring four others.
The injured have been admitted to the district hospital.
As word of the incident spread, Dalits in the city allegedly indulged in rioting and stone pelting at some places, forcing closure of markets.
Mayawati during her visit to the village held the BJP-led UP government responsible for the violence and alleged that the ruling party had failed to stop its own brigade from attacking weaker sections.
BSP chief Mayawati today held the state administration responsible for caste- based clashes that have occured in Saharanpur district this month.
Had the administration permitted the installation of an Ambedkar statue as well as a procession on 'Maharana Pratap Jayanti', the violence would have never occurred, she said.
In Saharanpur, Mayawati met those affected by the violence and demanded compensation for them.
In Muzaffarnagar also, she lashed out at the state government for the violence.
"The district administration of Saharanpur did not allow Dalits to install a bust of Ambedkar, while the procession to mark the birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap was taken out without any permission," Mayawati said.
"The Dalits just reacted to this discrimination," she said told media-persons.
On May 5, a Dalit group in Shabbirpur village had objected to a procession of Thakurs to mark the birth anniversary of Rajput king Maharana Pratap, triggering violence, in which one person was killed and over 15 were injured.
Mayawati today demanded that false cases lodged against different persons should be withdrawn and the disputes resolved amicably. Dalits and Rajputs should live together in harmony, she said.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath termed the incident as sad and unfortunate and offered his condolences to the family of the deceased.
He said the culprits would be identified and strict action taken against them. He also appealed for peace and restraint and asked the opposition parties to cooperate in restoration of peace.
He also ordered a four member team to visit the spot for inquiry. The team comprises ADG, Law and Order, Aditya Mishra, IG STF Amitabh Yash, DG Security Vijay Bhushan and is led by Home Secretary Mani Prasad Mishra.
Saharanpur has been in the grip of caste violence since April.
On May 5, a Dalit group had objected to a procession of Thakurs in Shabbirpur to mark the birth anniversary of Rajput king Maharana Pratap, triggering violence, in which one person was killed and over 15 were injured.
Dalits say upper caste Thakurs had earlier prevented them from installing a statue of BR Ambedkar on the premises of the Ravidas temple in the village.
Members of the Bheem Army, a Dalit group, had on May 9 torched a bus and set a number of two-wheelers afire after the administration had turned down their request to hold a mahapanchayat in Gandhi Park to demand compensation for those affected in the May 5 inter-caste clashes.
The village is home to around 600 Dalits and over 900 Thakurs.