Curfew was imposed in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday night following clashes between two communities over an objectionable video that went viral on Whatsapp.
The city has not seen or heard of communal clashes since decades. It was peaceful even when the country was burning after the Babri mosque demolition in Ayodhya.
Curfew has been a rare thing for the city as this is only the second time that it has been imposed -- the last time was in 1984 after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Tension was brewing since Wednesday when the objectionable video went viral on Whatsapp. A complaint was lodged at the city kotwali. Taking swift action, police not only identified the two accused but arrested and sent them to custody on Thursday.
However, tension escalated when the accused were being taken to jail. People in large numbers gathered there and demanded that charges under the National Security Act be imposed against the accused even as they protested on the road.
Kheri district magistrate Akashdeep told HT: “To maintain law and order, curfew orders were issued. The action was taken after an incident of firing and vandalism that caused injury to a person. The injured is being given treatment.”
All schools and colleges have been told to remain closed on Friday by the district magistrate.
The district magistrate and superintendent of police (SP) Manoj Kumar Jha inspected the city and spoke to the people, seeking their cooperation in maintaining law and order.