Top cops in UP shifted after violent protests

Lucknow: The Yogi Adityanath government, late on Monday night, transferred top police officials in Agra and Meerut for their apparent failure to contain violence that erupted during 'unauthorized protest marches taken out against the lynching of Tabrez Ansari in Jharkhand.

The state government transferred Inspector General Kanpur Alok Singh to Meerut in the same capacity while A. Satish Ganesh has been made IG of Agra.

Ajay Sahni has been made Special Superintendent of Police Meerut replacing Nitin Tiwari and Bablu Tiwari has been made SSP Agra, replacing Jogendra Kumar.

In Agra, scores of people, who were part of a protest march on Monday morning, asked traders to shut their shops in Sadar Bhatti. When they refused to do so, over 200 people started pelting stones at the shops in the communally-sensitive part of Agra, prompting police to use force and chase them away.

In Agra, trouble began when more than 2,000 men, after offering namaaz, started an unauthorized procession demanding justice for Tabrez Ansari. They were stopped in the middle and were asked to handover their memorandum and return peacefully.

But, some anti-social elements from the group started pelting stones. Later, five FIRs were filed and over 600 people were booked for the ruckus. In Meerut, crowds assembled at Indira Chowk and Faiz-e-Aam College on Delhi Road.

When asked to disperse, they started raising slogans against police. A few of them jostled with policemen after which mild force was used. However, Shahar Qazi Zainus Sajidin criticised police action on 'defenseless people'.

"During the Friday prayers, I had announced a peaceful procession as mark of protest against Ansari's lynching in Jharkhand. Since such protests are taking place in different districts, we thought getting permission from Meerut administration will not be a big issue.

Police sources, however, said that WhatsApp groups sent out messages asking people to launch a protest. In Meerut, internet services were suspended on Monday to curb spread of rumours and contingents of PAC and RAF carried out flag marches in several areas.

Meerut Police later booked 850 people, 50 of them named and rest unnamed at five police stations. They were booked under IPC sections 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 352 (assault or criminal force otherwise than on grave provocation), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and under 7 criminal law and amendment Act.

The main accused has been identified as Badar Ali who runs an NGO and was the main organiser who mobilized a large number of people despite having no permission from the administration.

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