Supreme Court orders police action against accused in Kanwariya violence case; AG says cops should be held responsible

New Delhi: After videos showcasing vehicles being vandalised by Kanwariyas across Northern states went viral on social media, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the police to take strict action against those responsible for erupting violence and breaching laws.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, and comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, reiterated an earlier verdict, which stated that videography of every procession should have to be made. The top court, while citing the 2009 judgement, also said that the organisers were responsible for any violence reported during the procession.

In view of these incidents, the attorney general also lamented police failure to control such breakdown of law and order.

“There was the Maratha agitation in Maharashtra, the massive unrest across the country over the SC/ST judgment, the controversy over ‘Padmaavat’ where the nose of the actress was threatened to be cut off…what happened to the protesters? Nothing! Such episodes of such rioting transpire every other day. Are we going to allow this to happen?”

The attorney general sought intervention from the apex court and urged it “to fix direct responsibility on the superintendent of police for such instances of violence and vandalism”.

On Wednesday, a group of Kanwariyas, armed with iron rods and sticks, smashed a car in Delhi’s South Moti Nagar area after the driver allegedly tried to brush past one of them while moving on a busy road. A similar incident also took place in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district on August, wherein Kanwariyas were filmed attacking a police SUV on a busy road, and also indulged in an altercation with the locals.

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma assured that authorities will take necessary action against those found guilty. “Those on spiritual pilgrimage are lost in the devotion of God, and can never be violent. But if some anti-social elements get involved then we will take strict action, no one will be spared irrespective of who he is,” he told ANI.

The police on Friday have arrested six Kanwariyas, including the main accused, Pappu, in connection with the Bulandshahr incident.

Kanwar pilgrims are the devotees of Hindu God, Shiva, who embark on a pilgrimage every year during the Hindu month of Saavan. Pilgrims can be seen carrying heavy pots filled with Ganga water on their shoulders, which they empty at the temples of Lord Shiva.

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