Members of two communities clashed in Ambedkar Nagar on Wednesday evening after a bike hit a kanwariya on the Ambedkar Nagar-Azamgarh highway in Uttar Pradesh. Following the accident, the kanwariyas set two buses, a police vehicle and a motorcycle afire. They also blocked the movement of traffic on the highway.
A police officer said the incident took place when three youths on a bike hit a kanwariya on the highway, injuring him and damaging the kanwar, a bamboo-based contraption used to carry pots of Ganga water for worship during the month of Sawan. The kanwariyas claimed the youth was deliberately hit.
Angry over the incident, kanwariyas caught hold of one of the youths while his associates fled. They beat him up and set the bike afire. Soon, the members of another community gathered at the spot and pelted the kanwariyas with stones.
District magistrate Vivek and SP Satya Bhusan Pathak rushed to the spot with police force. The police tried to disperse the mob and clear the highway. A police officer said efforts were on to pacify down the kanwariya and the route of the yatra had been diverted. The movement of traffic remained disrupted on the highway when reports were last received. Sporadic clashes were continuing, according to the police.
The incident came close on the heels of communal clashes in UP's Saharanpur.