When 10 policemen stood in rioters’ way
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The role of the police in Faizabad and Bhadarsa during the October 24 violence may remain under scrutiny, but in Rudauli, where the first incident of rioting took place, the police controlled the situation with a force of just 10, most of whom suffered injuries. It is here that police have registered an FIR against the sitting BJP MLA, Ram Chandra Yadav, who allegedly made hate speeches and led a mob, for rioting and criminal conspiracy.
The riots had erupted in Faizabad, Bhadarsa, Rudauli and Shahgunj within the space of an hour. It began in Rudauli around 4 pm when a procession of vehicles carrying Durga idols for immersion allegedly threw colours on the walls of a masjid. Following similar triggers, simultaneous violence erupted across the district, leaving two dead, several injured and at least 200 houses and shops in ashes.
According to a police official, the epicentre was in Alwana village. "There are seven FIRs filed regarding this incident. In some, it is alleged that while a procession of vehicles went past a masjid, colours were hurled on the walls and thrown inside. Other FIRs state someone from within the masjid threw stones and bricks at the procession."
In his FIR, Rudauli SHO Y P Singh states only that the police were called to Alwana after reports of heated arguments between members of the two communities. "The procession of vehicles had stopped and the Rudauli MLA, Yadav, was refusing to restart the immersion process," states the FIR. "The MLA argued that until an FIR was registered against two people for throwing stones at the same vehicles, the immersion process would not resume."
Singh stated that the police engaged with Yadav and several others and assured them they would register an FIR. "We said we would file the complaint, but the immersion process should continue. But then the MLA wanted to use another route and we refused to let him," Singh said. He added that most people who were part of the procession were drunk and were chanting slogans against the police.
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