Family of ABVP Member Who Died During Kasganj 'Tiranga Yatra' Says UP Govt Failed Them

The family accused the Yogi Adityanath government of making false promises to them and has vowed to remain in Lucknow until their demands are met.

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Lucknow: The family of Chandan Gupta, a young man who was killed in the violence that erupted during a ‘Tiranga yatra’ organised by right-wing groups in January 2018 in Kasganj, has accused the Yogi Adityanath government of making false promises to them and has vowed to remain in Lucknow until their demands are met.

“My young son lost his life to nationalism and Hindutva and the Bharatiya Janata Party considered his killing a regular affair,” says Sangeeta Gupta, Chandan Gupta’s mother.

The family arrived in the state capital on Tuesday to seek justice for their deceased son. They said despite their son being an “ardent supporter” of the BJP’s agenda of nationalism and Hindutva and a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the family has not gotten any assistance from right-wing leaders so far.

While the government has given the family ex-gratia of Rs 20 lakh, the family is demanding government jobs for Chandan’s siblings and that a square in Kasganj district should be named after Chandan.

The ‘Tiranga yatra’ was an unauthorised bike rally that was organised by right-wing groups in Kasganj on Republic Day. It resulted in violence, resulting in the 22-year-old Chandan’s death. Another man named Naushad Ahmad, a labourer, was admitted to a hospital with a bullet injury. Gupta’s death led to further violence, with a fact-finding team saying that the violence was not spontaneous but a “carefully planned attack”, pointing the finger at some right-wing groups.

At the press conference, Chandan Gupta’s family said that if the Yogi Adityanath government does not meet their demands, they will launch a “movement” against it before the assembly elections. Sangeeta said the family will expose the saffron party’s “hypocrisy”. Chandan’s parents announced that they would stay in Lucknow until the state government issues directions on their demands.

His father, Sushil Gupta, told The Wire that several lawmakers, politicians, and organisations wrote to the chief minister about the family’s grievances, but the government has been giving them a cold shoulder for more than three years.

“Yes, I believed in Hindutva politics. But now my advice to youngsters now is that they should not fall for the rhetoric in the name of nationalism and Hindutva,” Sunil asserted in Lucknow. He said that if something unfortunate were to happen to a youngster, “these politicians who used to provoke you will play politics on your dead bodies but never turn up to reassure your family”.

Susheel and Sangeeta said that they had Yogi Adityanath and BJP state chief Swatantra Dev Singh, but were only given false assurances and promises. Sangeeta told The Wire that the meeting with Swatantra Dev Singh left her feeling disheartened. According to her, after listening to her, the BJP leader replied that there is nothing unusual bout her son’s death.

“Despite our support for the Hindutva agenda, we haven’t got any support from the BJP government,” she said.

Sangeeta discouraged parents from allowing their children to participate in such “yatras”.

She also said that minister Suresh Pasi, who was present at her son’s cremation, had promised that the government would ensure justice. But after that, he has not turned up to support them, Sangeeta said. The family also slammed local MP Rajvir Singh, saying he did not support the family in any meaningful way.

The Vaishya community, to which Chandan and his family belong, also supported their claims. Shailendra Agrahari, who claimed to be a leader of the community in Mirzapur, accompanied Chandan’s parents to Lucknow and targeted the Yogi government over the “deteriorating law and order situation in UP”. He opined that the trader community from Gorakhpur to Kasganj is feeling insecure under the Yogi government.

He demanded justice for Chandan and said that if the government did not take concrete steps to redress the grievances of Chandan’s family, it would intensify the disillusionment against the BJP in the trader community. This, he warned, would prove costly to the saffron party in elections.