iconimg Tuesday, July 07, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Lucknow, September 29, 2013
To protest the arrest of BJP MLA Sangeet Singh Som for inciting communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, over 7,000 people defied a ban to reach village Khera in Sardhana assembly constituency in Meerut on Sunday. A similar 'mahapanchayat' held about a month ago had acted as the trigger for the Muzaffarnagar violence in which 48 people were killed and at least 50,000 displaced.

Banning the all-community panchayat earlier, the Meerut district administration had imposed Section 144 of CrPC and had sealed all routes to the village. There was also a heavy security deployment.

However, sources said at least 7,000 villagers from 24 villages (Chaubeesi) of Thakur community have already reached there for the panchayat.

The district magistrate Naudip Renuwa said orders have been issued to disperse people from the village. He said the gathering was against the law and more security forces have been rushed to the area.

The gathering in Khera protested the arrest of Sangeet Som who has been booked under National Security Act (NSA) and is accused of making hate speeches and uploading a fake video on a social networking site, which played a role in provoking violence in Muzaffarnagar. Som is lodged in Orain district jail.

While imposing the ban on Saturday, the administration had also enlisted the support of Khera village pradhan (headman) to cancel the panchayat but entire exercise seems to have failed.