Curfew has been clamped in parts of Uttar Pradesh's Meerut district after two groups clashed and indulged in arson and vandalism, leaving nearly 20 people injured, police said on Wednesday.
A verbal dispute between shopkeepers and a group of Muslim protestors snowballed into a violent clash late Tuesday in Lisari Gate area of Meerut, about 350 km from Lucknow.
"We have arrested six people in connection with the clash. Some shopkeepers allegedly manhandled the driver of a tractor-trolley carrying the Muslim protestors. The driver was allegedly trying to park the vehicle in a prohibited area close to a railway crossing," Superintendent of Police (Meerut City) Rakesh Jolly told IANS on phone from Meerut.
The violence soon spread to other localities, including Ghantaghar, Pir Tiraha and Bhumia Pul, where angry mobs targeted buses and police vehicles. At least six police motorcycles were set ablaze.
In order to disperse the angry mob, the police along with Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel resorted to lobbing tear gas shells and baton charging the vandals.
The 20 people injured in the violence include six policemen.
"The injured are undergoing treatment. No one is in a critical condition," said Jolly.
Following the violence, a curfew was clamped on the area and a large number of policemen were deployed.
"The situation is still tense but under control. A curfew has been imposed in various localities coming under Kotwali, Delhi Gate, Brahmapuri and Lisari Gate police stations," said Jolly.