For more than a year, the Mathura police anticipated a violent retaliation, even bloodshed, if the Ram Vriksha Yadav-led Swadheen Bharat Subhash Sena (SBSS) members were to be forcefully evacuated from the illegally occupied Jawahar Bagh.The top brass of the Mathura administration, the police and the judiciary knew that the encroachers were dangerously armed. Yet, on June 2, when a police force of about 1,500 personnel, mainly comprising trainee recruits, were sent to “try and persuade over 2,500 encroachers to evacuate the public property of Jawahar Bagh calmly”, there was no briefing on what if the SBSS members resorted to firing.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>And when they did, the Mathura police only warned them through loudspeakers. A week after the deadly operation that freed Jawahar Bagh from armed men, a serene calm prevails. But beneath this calm lies a toxic hush as the district magistrate and the senior superintendent of police (SSP) leading the operation, that saw 29 deaths, stand transferred. At least 12 police officials are under investigation for fleeing from the spot even as two of their colleagues were grievously wounded. The UP government has ordered a judicial probe.But senior officials from the district administration and police told dna that there was no intelligence failure or inadequate force. It was wrong assessment that resulted in one of worst riots in the pilgrim town.“We had guns and we could have brought the situation under control, had we been given immediate orders to fire in the air. We pleaded with senior officials as the encroachers refused to hold up firing. Stone-pelting and lathicharge from their side were intense,’’ said a Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel, who was at the spot.Intelligence reports show that officials had anticipated a violent scuffle with encroachers in case of a forceful eviction. A local intelligence unit, sent on September 10, 2015, reported that SBSS members are adamant harassers, don’t listen to anyone, defy laws and run a parallel government inside Jawahar Bagh.“They also have licensed guns, arms and explosive materials…In case an operation in Jawahar Bagh is conducted, the SBSS strategised to injure their members and blame the police and district administration,’’ stated the report submitted to the Allahabad High Court.The presence of nearly 400 women, 300 kids and 150 senior citizens inside Jawahar Bagh was a major deterrent for the police.When police force reached around 5 pm, senior officers announced through loudspeakers that they have come to clear the encroachments on HC orders. This was replied by a female voice who ordered to attack the policemen from the loudspeaker. “Karenge ya marenge. They (police) want to turn Jawahar Bagh into Jallianwalla Bagh, we will not let them.’’The barrage of bullets and stones that hailed on the police force from over 2,500 SBSS encroachers was an unexpected reprisal.“We didn’t expect them to react if we did not act. We made a wrong assessment that they will not fire or attack us if we did not show any aggression,’’ said one police superintendent.The FIR filed on the Jawahar Bagh incident corroborates the lapses in judgment by senior administration and police officials, who tried to warn the crowd instead of using force to disperse them.Though a water cannon was used, firing and stone-pelting continued. “This had no effect on the euphoric crowd to stop firing, even after issuing continuous warning… it further infuriated the SBSS encroachers who intensified the firing,’’ the FIR records the event. The police finally opened fire in the air after a district magistrate and a senior police officer on the spot gave orders in writing. SBSS leaders then moved the action towards the main gate of Jawahar Bagh and set temporary bamboo hutments afire. The fire in the kitchen area and the store room, housing food supplies, caused gas cylinders to blast.Large flames engulfed the trees and temporary residences created by the SBSS encroachers. The cylinder blast killed around 12 SBSS members. The remaining members ran to save their lives. Minutes later, a crowd of around 2,000 encroachers ran and escaped through the main entrance gate of Jawahar Bagh. Angry locals who were witness to the operation surrounding Jawahar Bagh caught a few encroachers and beat them up.What is SBBS?The SBSS or Bhartiya Subhash Sena is reportedly a registered political party launched in 2013. The group and its members claim to be the ‘true followers of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’ and also allege a conspiracy which led to disappearance of the leader. Jawahar Bagh was the de facto liberated land of SBSS, occupied since March 2014. Since early 2014, 106 acres of state horticulture department property located in the heart of Mathura was illegally occupied illegally by SBSS and established a parallel government. The Allahabad HC in a May 2015 order directed to evacuate and free the land of encroachment.What police recovered from Jawahar Bagh315 bore country made pistols: 4012 bore country made pistol: 1315 Rifle licence: 1315 country-made rifle: 4315 rifle factory made licensed: 1Air pistol: 1Live bullets: 82White explosive substance: 1 kgBlack grainy explosive substance: 2.5 kgYellow explosive substance: 5 kgElectronic circuit plate: 1Iron pellets: 1 kgOne UBGL 37 mm gas gun, Jefferson, made in USAMobile phones: 95 kg gas cylinders: 15614 kg gas cylinders: 13

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Mathura clashes: Wrong assessment, delay in firing botched up Operation Jawahar Bagh