Saharanpur borders sealed ahead of Rahul Gandhi's visit

Lucknow: Even as Uttar Pradesh authorities kept a close watch, Saharanpur borders were ordered to be sealed on Saturday to prevent Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi from visiting survivors of the caste violence that has hit the district. The Congress leader had started for his proposed visit from New Delhi to the district despite denial of permission by state authorities, police said.

Senior civil and police officials, including Deputy Inspector General (Security) Vijay Bhushan were camping on the Uttar Pradesh-Haryana border at Sarsava to intercept Gandhi's motorcade. On Friday, the Uttar Pradesh government denied permission to Gandhi to visit the villages where caste conflicts since May 5 have left at least two dead and over two dozen others injured, until the situation returns to normal.

We are committed to ensure peace and harmony in the region and will not allow any political leader to visit the places that have been singed by caste clashes over the past few days," a senior Home Department official told IANS. He said senior state officials are camping in the district to monitor the situation. Already embarrassed by another bout of violence after Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati's visit to the district this week, the district administration is not willing to take chances.

According to the district Congress leaders, Gandhi will only meet the injured persons in hospital and not visit the spots where clashes were reported. Clashes between the Dalits and Rajputs erupted on May 5 in Shabbirpur village after objections were raised over the playing of loud music in connection with the celebration of the birth anniversary of warrior king Maharana Pratap.

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