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Uttar Pradesh will become a "cauldron" of caste violence if right-wingers are not restrained, the CPI(M) said today, criticising the BJP government in the state for the clashes in communally sensitive Saharanpur district. The CPI(M) demanded that the state police be directed to get tough on Hindutva vigilantes allegedly responsible for the violence. It claimed that the number of such persons has risen ever since the BJP government took over the reins of the state. The Left party also demanded that the perpetrators of the violence against Dalits in Saharanpur be arrested and the victims be compensated. "The police must be given clear direction to curb Hindutva vigilantes," former CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat said in an editorial of the party mouthpiece 'People's Democracy'. Clashes had erupted on May 5 in Saharanpur's Shabbirpur village after some of its Dalit residents refused to allow a procession by Thakurs to mark the birth anniversary of Rajput king Maharana Pratap. Members of the Dalit community had then tried to hold a 'mahapanchayat' on May 9 in Gandhi Park in the city to demand compensation and relief to those affected in the May 5 clashes but their request was turned down by the administration, following which they had taken to the streets to protest against it. In the violence that followed, Dalit protesters had allegedly set fire to a police post and over a dozen two- wheelers in several areas of the city.
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