Police resorted to lathicharge to disperse a violent mob who pelted the men in uniform with stones in Zakir Colony of Hapur Road during the second phase of the civic elections in Meerut on Tuesday.
Locals expressed anger at the police after the 12-year-old son of one Nafisa sustained injuries in the lathicharge. Police said some minors were found in a queue of the Capital School polling booth on Hapur Road.
Police said when they objected to polling by minors, the mob turned violent. Police added this left them with no option, but to resort to a lathicharge.
Roads were littered with bricks and broken glass. A mob took out bottles from roadside scrap dealers' shops to aim at the police. Local residents, however, blamed the police for arresting some youths, though it was denied.
"They arrested eight youths, but later released one Tunni, a heart patient," said a resident Sageer Ahmad.
At the Sardar Patel Municipal College in Brahmpuri, polling agents complained about non-availability of the voters' list. A heated exchange between police and polling agents followed. Timely intervention of local leaders and influential people helped in restoring peace.
Heavy turnout was witnessed in Muslim dominated areas, where local MP Shahid Akhlaq's aunt and Haj and Minority Welfare Minister Haji Yakoob's wife are in the fray. Muslim women came out on the streets to exercise their franchise. Voters swarmed booths in Hindu dominated localities like Shastri Nagar and Ganga Nagar. Long queues were seen in front of the booths. Elaborate security arrangements were made in mixed population areas.
The whole town was divided in 52 sectors and a magistrate was deputed in each sector to ensure peaceful polling. Of the 296 booths, 148 were declared hypersensitive and 112 sensitive. Additional police personnel were deployed at these polling booths. Mobile phones were jammed and movement of ministers and public representatives was restricted. In violation of norms, candidates' supporters were seen ferrying voters in their vehicles.
Plying of vehicles was also stopped during the poll and a close vigil was kept on husbands of women candidates.
District magistrate Mukesh Kumar Meshram ordered shoot-at-sight orders against troublemakers. He, along with the SSP, kept on doing rounds of the town to ensure peaceful polling.