Communal tension gripped Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich town on Sunday night after Hindus and Muslims clashed over an alleged incident of sexual harassment of a few girls, police said on Monday.
Reports said some Muslim boys had been allegedly harassing girls enrolled in a dance school in Qazi Katra locality under Dargah police station of Bahraich, 130 km north of state capital Lucknow. The girls informed their parents who in turn lodged a complaint with the police but no action was taken against the boys.
On Sunday evening, when the girls arrived at the school to attend their classes, a group of boys asked for their mobile numbers and addresses. The girls refused and alerted their parents.
Soon members of the girls’ families arrived at the spot and challenged the boys, who started pelting stones. Members of the other community came out in support of the hoodlums. Finding themselves outnumbered, the girls and their family members took shelter in a nearby temple.
Later, police dispersed the mob and rescued the girls and their family members. At least three people were injured in the clash.
“The police arrested four people and raids are being conducted to arrest the main accused who is absconding. An adequate police force has been deployed in sensitive localities and the situation is normal,” superintendent of police, Shaligram Verma told Hindustan Times.
“An FIR has been registered against five people and over 100 unidentified people under Sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 336 (act of endangering life or personal safety of others), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), IPC,” Verma added.
The injured were sent to the district hospital and two of them, who were seriously injured in the clash, have been referred to Lucknow’s King George’s Medical University (KGMU) for treatment.
“The parents and the girls have lodged several complaints with the police regarding eve teasing by the boys of a particular community but the police turned a blind eye to the harassment. The anti-social elements got encouraged and started harassing the girls,” Shiv Kumar Gautam, a school teacher, said.