Sources said Pappu, a former municipal counsellor of the area, was the person behind the litigation over the disputed piece of land near the Gurdwara. They said he was also offered money but somehow the deal did not go through.
Police have also arrested five aides of Muharram Ali in connection with the communal violence. Moreover, the police filed 75 cases against Pappu. He will be booked under the National Security Act.
“We have arrested Moharram Ali and five others in connection with the riots today. We suspect that Ali – whose name was in an FIR also – was the person who gathered the mob and instigated violence. He has been booked under NSA,” Saharanpur SSP Rajesh Pandey said.
Earlier, the authorities relaxed curfew restrictions in two phases of five hours each in the area on Wednesday. District officials said that the first relaxation is in place in new city areas between 8:30am to 1:30pm which will be followed by a 2-7 pm relaxation in old city areas of the town.
“The situation is slowly returning back to normalcy. We have relaxed curfew in two phases on Wednesday. We will consider a further relaxation once we are sure about complete normalcy,” an administration official said.
Three people died and several others were injured when clashes broke out between two communities after members of one community started construction work on the disputed plot of land on Saturday. Following violence, additional forces were deployed to control the situation.