MATHURA: The radical group of squatters behind the deadly violence in Mathura on
Thursday claims loyalty to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and wants to alter
the political and economic landscape of India.
down, its ambition primarily was to grab government-owned prime real
estate in this Hindu holy city and create an empire of their own in the
growing market-mix of politics and sprituality.
The ragtag army
of the little known Swadheen Bharat Subhas Sena, allegedly led by Ram
Vriksha Singh Yadav, a disciple of Mathura-based Tulsidas Maharaj also
known as "Jai Gurudev", had been occupying Mathura's sprawling 300-acre
Jawaharbagh since January 2014.
The group, which calls itself
"satyagrahis" or revolutionaries, began staying in the park on the
pretext of staging demonstrations.
The protests had started as
part of a rally from Madhya Pradesh that was supposed to terminate at
Delhi. The rallyists were denied permission to move on to the capital
but were allowed to hold the demonstration at the park -- which once had
thousands of mango, gooseberry, and berry trees -- but only for two
The rallyists, however, stayed on and encroached the park
for two years, during which they felled the trees to facilitate the
shanty town of thousands of protesters from eastern Uttar Pradesh,
Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.
According to police, there
were 3,000 of them living inside the park where their leader Ram Vriksha
Singh Yadav, who is now untraceable, ran a "parallel government",
amassing a huge cache of arms and ammunition.
Police claimed to
have recovered some 47 country-made pistols, six rifles and 178 live
cartridges from the park after the bloodshed on Thursday saw 24 persons,
including a superintendent of police and 22 encroachers, killed.
police officer told IANS on condition of anonymity that the squatters
had also managed illegal electricity and water connections and had built
toilets by destroying pavements. They would pick fights with any
outsider trying to enter the park.
All this was happening right
under the nose of the authorities. The district magistrate's office and
the police line complex are at a stone's throw from the park.
Vriksha Singh Yadav, the cult leader on the run, is a known disciple of
"Jai Gurudev" who was said to have left behind a Rs 12,000-crore empire
after his death. This sparked a leadership tussle between three
claimants -- Ram Vriksha Singh Yadav, Pankaj Yadav and Umakant Tiwari.
empire included land worth Rs 4,000 crore, a school, a petrol pump in
Mathura - all in the name of the "Jai Gurudev Trust". His fleet of
luxury cars included Plymouths, Mercedes Benz, Skodas and BMWs.
Yadav won the battle, and Ram Vriksha Singh Yadav fell apart with him
and led his own faction of Gurudev followers to create another empire on
the grabbed government land.
In the last two years, he became so
powerful that even the administration could not touch him and get the
park vacated. He even allegedly held hostage a government officer who
had gone to inquire about the group inside the cluster of slums and
The group had been raising demands
like no prime minister elections and establishment of an "Azad Hind
government", a kind of dictatorial set.
They also demanded the
rule book of Subhas Chandra Bose's Indian National Army to be treated as
the law of the land and used for governance in the country. They wanted
the currency notes used by Azad Hind Fauj, or the Indian National Army
which fought the British Empire with the Japanese help, to be printed
again with Bose's name and brought back into circulation.
They wanted petrol and diesel to be priced at one rupee a litre, and above all the park to be handed over to them permanently.
None of that happened.
curtains came down violently on the 30-month old "revolution" after
police stormed the park on Thursday and were showered with bullets by
squatters. Some 250 of them have been arrested, and the rest have run
(Sarwar Kashani can be contacted at email@example.com)