Three Bharatiya Janata Party MPs wanting to probe what lay behind the communal violence in Bareilly were prevented from reaching the city on Sunday morning.
The police intercepted committee leader and Aonla MP Maneka Gandhi in Ghaziabad and taken to Badaun under police cover.
The two others, Meerut MP Rajendra Aggarwal and Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath were also stopped on their way to the city, 270 km west of Lucknow.
In Bareilly, flag marches and peace processions were held on Sunday after its worst communal clash. The clash was triggered when a religious procession was passing through the city on March 2.
Officials are keeping vigil on the city from a helicopter and curfew continues to be imposed in localities under five police stations in the city.
The Naya Tola locality has for long been a model of communal amity. Here a Hindu family manages a mosque and food is given to both Hindus and Muslims at a dargah (mausoleum). A temple, inaugurated in 1960 by the then President of India Rajendra Prasad, was constructed by a Muslim. Yet the riots started in Chahbai locality, which is just 2 km away.
So what went wrong?
“Hamare Bareilly ko kisi ki nazar lag gayi hai (our Bareilly is under an evil eye),” said 72-year-old Rajendra Kumar Sharma, whose family has been managing a mosque in Naya Tola for the past 300 years.
Sharma said, “Every day, even during the riots of the past 12 days, I have been opening the locks of the mosque.”
However, driving through near-empty roads, one heard only cries — those of hungry babies and mothers.
Also, Uttar Pradesh board examination candidates have to shout their way to the hall holding their admit cards in hand, to establish their identities before the police.
Prayers are being held in temples and mosques for peace.