The carnage of Mathura that claimed the lives of 22 squatters and 2 policemen has left the nation shellshocked. It was the result of the clash between the members of Swadhin Bharat Vidhik Satyagrah (SBVS) and the police who were trying to evict them from Jawahar Bagh. The armed members of SBVS were squatting in the 33 Acre park since 2014.
On June 2, 2016 police entered park to carry out the eviction order. The cult members attacked an ill prepared police force with grenades, swords and guns. After losing 2 senior officers in the initial attack, the Police fired at the squatters. 22 cult members including their leader Ram Vriksha Yadav perished in the attack. Many more of his followers, which included women and children were injured. 23 police personnel were hospitalised with injuries.
The whole saga had its inception when Ram Vriksha Yadav entered the Jawahar Bagh park on a two day protest with his 500 armed followers. He ended up creating and ruling his own fiefdom within the park. He made life and death decisions for the 3000 followers who went to squat alongside him. He was the dictator of the pseudo government which had its own laws and jails. The park had only one entrance which was under the watch of his armed cronies. Even police couldn’t enter the park. He led the militant outfit that gave guns to teenagers. The encroachers burned down nearly 2,400 trees in the park and had kitchen gardens for growing food.
Yadav claimed that his organisation SBVS were the followers of Netaji and had a host of bizarre demands like – cancellation of election and the PM, Replacing INR with unregulated Azad Hind currency, Banning non vegetarian food etc.
The court issued the eviction order in April 2016. Why the local administration and Government waited for an year to execute it is still a mystery. It’s high time for the Gov’ts to do a soul search about how they are handling the domestic crisis situations. But one must wonder about the attitude that let the situation escalate from 200 to 3000 supporters (including women and children). We are literally in a position of digging the well when beard catches fire. Incidents like this point to our inability to assess the internal threats and take strategic actions to curb them.