Roorkee mahapanchayat: No permission given, says admin, imposes Sec 144

FOLLOWING announcement of a mahapanchayat by Hindu religious leaders in Dada Jalalpur village near Roorkee to discuss the recent violence and stone pelting in the village, the Haridwar district administration on Tuesday imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC in 5-km area of the village and confirmed that no permission has been granted for the event.

The prohibitory orders were imposed hours after the Supreme Court directed the Uttarakhand Chief Secretary to place on record the state’s position that there will not be any “untoward situation” or “unacceptable statements” during the event.

Swami Anand Swaroop, a Haridwar-based religious leader and one of organisers of the Wednesday event, however, told The Indian Express they will go ahead with their plans and reach the village. He said he will be part of the mahapanchayat along with Dharam Sansad core committee members like Yatindranand Giri, Prabodhanand Saraswati, Parmanand ji Maharaj and others.

He said the mahapanchayat has been announced to discuss police action and their failure to arrest the main culprits in the April 16 communal violence that took place in the village during a Hanuman Jayanti procession.

Several persons were injured and at least four vehicles were set on fire during the violence. So far 14 people, all belonging to the minority community, have been arrested in connection with the violence.

Demanding the arrest of the local mosque’s Imam, who he alleged was responsible for the violence, Swaroop said, “We had given them (the authorities) a week’s time, which ended Tuesday. We had already announced that after one week we will organise a mahapanchayat and everyone should accept whatever the mahapanchayat decides.”

DIG (Garhwal Range) Karan Singh Nagnyal said Section 144 CrPC has been imposed in the area as a preventive measure. “This is not just with the planned mahapanchayat in mind, but also to maintain peace and law and order in the area,” he said.

Haridwar SSP Yogendra Singh Rawat said Section 144 has been imposed in 5 km area of the village and no assembly or gathering is allowed there.

“Heavy police force has been deployed in the area to stop the mahapanchayat as no permission has been granted to anyone. If anyone tries [to organise it], it will be considered an illegal activity. Around 200 police personnel and 100 inspectors and sub-inspectors have been deployed. Additionally, five companies of PAC have also been sent to the area. The entire issue is being monitored by the Supreme Court and we do not want any leniency. If anyone tries to break the law, strict action will be taken,” he said.

Haridwar District Magistrate Vinay Shankar Pandey said no permission has been granted for any mahapanchayat.

“It is clear that no event will be organised tomorrow. So far preventive action has been taken against 33 people involved in organising the event. We will follow the Supreme Court guidelines and no one has the right or permission to take law in their hands,” he said.

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