Even though a District Magistrate in Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly district had to delete his Facebook post where he had asked why raising anti-Pakistan slogans in Muslim-dominated areas was becoming a "trend" for some people, a bureaucrat posted at Saharanpur has now taken to the Facebook and asserted that Bhagwa (saffron flag) killed Chandan Gupta.
Chandan, a 22-year-old college student, was killed in communal clashes that broke out in the western Uttar Pradesh town of Kasganj after some anti-social elements “threw stones and opened fire” during an unauthorised bike rally taken out to celebrate Republic Day.
“So this is what Kasganj Tiranga Yatra was all about. There is nothing new to it. On Ambedkar Jayanti, a similar rally was carried out in Saharanpur’s Sadak Dudhli village. Ambedkar was missing from that rally or in other words, he got eclipsed by the Bhagwa. The same thing happened in Kasganj. Tricolour (national flag) was missing and saffron (flag of RSS) was all over the rally. The boy who got killed was not murdered by the people belonging to second or the third community. He was killed by the Bhagwa itself from behind the veil of saffron, white and green,” posted deputy director Statistics Department Saharanpur, Rashme Varun on Facebook.
Without referring to Kasganj, DM Raghvendra Vikkram Singh had signalled to a similar incident taking place in Bareilly last year when violence broke out during a Kanwar Yatra. “A strange trend has started of late. Take processions forcibly into Muslim mohallas and shout Pakistan murdabad. (Why so? Are these people Pakistanis?),” wrote Raghvendra, setting off a fierce debate on social media as it came a few days after the violence in Kasganj.
Later, he lamented the negative reactions to his post, clarifying that he was only referring to the law and order problem that had arisen in Bareilly: “I had hoped there will be an academic discussion but unfortunately it had taken a different turn. Extremely sad (sic).”
The Uttar Pradesh government has been under fire over the Kasganj clashes. Governor Ram Naik described the violence a "blot" on the state whereas the opposition parties have persistently been targeting Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over a spurt in hate crimes against Muslims.