Saharanpur/Lucknow: Twenty people were arrested as curfew and shoot-at-sight orders on Sunday remained in force in the city hit by clashes between two communities over a land dispute.
District Magistrate Sandhya Tiwari said, "The situation is better than yesterday. I have to just impose the law and order in the city and the situation is quite normal now." Three persons were yesterday killed and 19 others, including policemen, injured in the clashes as mobs indulged in arson after which curfew was clamped and shoot-at-sight ordered. Five policemen, a city magistrate, and 13 others were injured. A constable Shensar Pal was stated to be in serious condition in Chandigarh PGI after suffering a bullet injury.
On the land dispute, Tiwari said, "I'm not going into it... The construction is on hold." She said 20 people have been arrested in connection with the violence. Police had fired rubber bullets to control the situation as mobs went on the rampage, setting several shops afire.
Prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC have been invoked in the district and curfew was clamped in six areas, according to Commissioner, Saharanpur, Tanveer Zafar Ali. Additional forces, including from PAC, CRPF, RAF and ITBP have been deployed in the troubled areas.
Trouble began when members of one community started construction work at the site in Kutubsher area in the wee hours yesterday, which was objected to by the other group. Both the sides indulged in heavy brick-batting, arson and opened fire and there were reports of several shops being gutted in the clash, police said.
Saharanpur is nearly 170 km from national capital Delhi and 560 km from state capital Lucknow.
Uttar Pradesh government has announced financial aid of Rs 10 lakh each for the next of kin of the three persons killed in the clashes. An official spokesman also said that Rs 50,000 will be given to the injured and added that the state government has sought a report on the incident from the district administration.
In Lucknow, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav yesterday termed the incident as "unfortunate" and said that those responsible will not be spared.