One person was killed and over a dozen injured in a communal clash on Sunday, when supporters of a BJP MP began firing at a crowd that had been pelting stones at his motorcade.
Yogi Avaidyanath, MP from Gorakhpur, was visiting Azamgarh town, 300km east of Lucknow, to attend a Hindu Chetna rally. Given his reputation for propagating aggressive Hindutva, he was advised by the district administration to use a bypass to get to the venue. Azamgarh, with a sizeable Muslim population, has always been communally sensitive; and more so since Abu Basher, the chief of the banned SIMI was arrested from Azamgarh.
Far from using the bypass, Avaidyanath’s motorcade entered the old city areas, with those accompanying him shouting provocative slogans: “They yelled, ‘Azamgarh mein rahna hoga, to Yogi Yogi kehna hoga (If you want to live in Azamgarh you have to sing praises of Yogi Avaidyanath),” additional DGP Brijlal said.
Muslims youths in the locality responded by throwing stones, at which Avaidyanath’s men, many of whom carried guns, fired back.