Saharanpur blocks internet after caste violence

Police arrest 24 people and authorities suspend online services after clashes erupt in region of Uttar Pradesh state.

    Saharanpur blocks internet after caste violence
    Saharanpur has witnessed intermittent clashes since late April [Manish Swarup/AP]

    Authorities in a northern Indian district have blocked mobile internet services and arrested dozens of people after caste violence earlier this week left one person dead, according to police.

    The latest unrest in the Saharanpur region of Uttar Pradesh state began after members of the Dalit community, formerly known as "the untouchables", threw stones at the homes of upper caste Rajput Hindus on Tuesday.

    Fresh clashes broke out when groups of Dalits returning from a political rally were attacked in a retaliation by Rajputs.

    Local police said a Dalit man succumbed to gunshot injuries, while 16 more were wounded. On Wednesday, a Rajput man was shot and seriously wounded, but police said it was not clear if it was a caste-linked attack.

    Bablu Kumar, a senior police officer, said on Thursday that 24 people had been arrested in recent days.

    "We ordered the service providers late Wednesday to suspend internet services as outsiders ... were instigating locals with WhatsApp and Facebook posts," Kumar told the AFP news agency.

    "Now the situation is absolutely calm."

    The region has witnessed intermittent clashes between Dalits and Rajputs since April, according to local media reports.

    Clashes between the two communities earlier this month led to the death of another Dalit.

    Uttar Pradesh, is India's most populous state and has a history of religious and caste violence.

    SOURCE: News agencies


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