Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court on Monday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to explain why squatters were allowed to occupy Jawahar Bagh for more than two years even though permission was granted to use the public park in Mathura for staging protests for only two days in 2014.
A Division Bench comprising Justices Vikram Nath and Ravindra Nath Kakkar, hearing a PIL seeking a CBI probe into the incident, also sought details of correspondence between the Mathura district administration and the state government regarding the encroachment and action taken thereupon.
Pressing for a CBI probe into the incident, BJP leader and Supreme Court lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, who is also one of the petitioners in the case, alleged before the court that Ram Vriksh Yadav, the self-styled leader of the cult whose followers had occupied Jawahar Bagh until their eviction on June 2, was unduly favoured by the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh.
"The state government did not act against Ram Vriksh Yadav though as many as 16 FIRs had been registered against him and his followers during the period Jawahar Bagh remained under his occupation. He had campaigned extensively for a top leader of the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the state government was apparently trying to return the favour by handing over the sprawling public park to him," alleged the petitioner.
The court asked the state government to submit its reply and fixed August 1 as the next date of hearing.
Clashes between squatters and police left 29 people dead, including two police officers, at Jawahar Bagh on June 2 following an eviction drive launched pursuant to a High Court order.
A huge cache of firearms, ammunition and explosives was recovered from the park where the squatters had erected huts and maintained a steady supply of items of daily use such as edibles and cooking gas.
The Uttar Pradesh government has set up an inquiry commission, headed by a retired High Court judge, to investigate the matter.