The Uttar Pradesh police said today that it has denied permission to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for a visit tomorrow to Sahranpur which is tense with caste clashes earlier this week. Senior police officer Aditya Mishra told media that no politician is being allowed to visit the town for now.
Mishra did not name Mr Gandhi, but said political leaders will have to wait for a few days before they can plan visits to Saharanpur, about 181 km from national capital Delhi.
“Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has not been given permission to visit Saharanpur,” news agency Press Trust of India quoted another senior police officer Bablu Kumar as saying.
Congress sources in Delhi however said on Friday afternoon that they have received no word on Mr Gandhi being denied permission and said his trip on Saturday is on. The Congress leader plans to visit Shabbirpur village, the epicentre of clashes between Dalits and Thakurs or Rajputs since last month.
On Tuesday, a Dalit man was killed and several people were injured when a mob attacked supporters of Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati with swords and guns soon after she held a rally in Shabbirpur.
Before Ms Mayawati’s rally 12 homes in the village belonging to Rajputs had been set afire by unknown people and the mob attack was seen as retaliation. Groups of Dalits then attacked shops and markets.
The Yogi Adityanth government of the BJP in UP has blamed Ms Mayawati’s visit and has called the continuing incidents of violence in the area is well planned and oiled conspiracy.