A shaken Sangeeta Gupta, mother of Chadan Gupta killed in Kasganj’s communal violence, is dejected with the idea of people wanting to prove their patriotism if it triggers clashes and takes a young life.”I won’t let anyone celebrate Republic Day or Independence Day in the future if this is the result,” she said, sitting on the floor at her residence with her bandaged head, surrounded by relatives, neighbours and teachers of the college where Chandan studied. She had banged her head against the floor multiple times, grieving the death of her youngest child.Asking for the ‘madness’ to end, she said there should be no politics over her dead son. “Politicians must stop the violence and not let this take a communal colour for vote bank politics.” “I know the route to Delhi, if needed, whether I lose my life in the process, it doesn’t matter anymore,” she said. Dressed in a blue saree with her hands crossed, she howled in pain and anger. Chandan was the youngest of three siblings. His sister Kirti is studying in Delhi, while his brother Vivek is working in Kasganj.The siblings showed videos of Republic Day when a Tiranga Yatra was carried out. While people in Kasganj have various opinions on what happened, most say it was a pre-planned attack. Some even say that social media was also responsible for this.”There were various posts on social media before the event, indicating a communal divide and hate mongering. The administration was aware as well but no steps were taken. In fact when the initial fight happened at Baddu Nagar, and the police was informed, everything could have stopped there,” said Saleem Khan (name changed), who resides near Chamundi Gate, where Chandan along with his friends entered the Muslim-dominated area.Normalcy is limping back to the town gripped in communal tension with people opening their shops and coming out on the streets in Prabhu Park area where Chandan’s family lives. However, fear is palpable among residents in Baddu Nagar, a Muslim ghetto where Chandan was shot dead. A woman who resides in the area said she has never in her life seen violence of this kind in the city.Chandan recently joined an NGO, Sankalp, and had organised blood donation camps at his college and carried out a tree plantation drive. Some youths from the Muslim community who had even worked with him and knew him were also shaken. “He was patriotic but if this is what is going to happen, no parents would let their children come out and celebrate Republic Day or Independence Day. The feeling of patriotism would die in the youth,” said Preet, Chandan’s aunt.
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