Tension gripped the Kanth area of Uttar Pradesh's Moradabad district on Saturday as the BJP refused to back out of its proposed protest against district officials for victimising its cadres.
Over 300 Congress workers, including prominent Dalit leader Madhusudan Mistry, were detained in Ghaziabad on Saturday for violating prohibitory orders banning their entry in the area, police said.
Heavy security has been now deployed and all entry points leading to the city have been barricaded. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 have been clamped, an official said.
The situation became tense after the Congress state unit also announced a peace march for Saturday. Police have sealed all roads leading to Moradabad to prevent both the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress workers.
State Congress chief Nirmal Khatri, leaders like Naseeb Pathan and film actress-turned-politician Naghma were detained in Ghaziabad as tried to proceed to Moradabad.
The situation in Kanth has been tense since early July when acting on the complaints of the local party legislator, the police had pulled down loudspeakers from a village temple. It was alleged the police team entered the temple with their shoes on.
This led to violent protests from the villagers, most of whom are Dalits.
The BJP soon joined the protests and accused the state government of appeasing a community and victimising others. A maha panchayat was called but when BJP leaders tried to attend it, three MPs and an MLA was arrested.
Soon violence broke out and the Moradabad DM was seriously injured and lost an eye after being hit by a stone.
Many BJP workers were arrested. A police official courted controversy when he blamed the the BJP of fanning passions in the Thakurdwara by-polls.