Tension gripped Thakurganj in the old city on Sunday morning after violence broke out between Hindus and Muslims over a protest march against an ‘objectionable statement’ made by Hindu Mahasabha leader Kamlesh Tiwari about two weeks ago. Police had to resort to lathi charge to bring the situation under control.
The incident occurred when activists of the Mohammadi Mission took out a march from Axon school to Balaganj Crossing around 1 pm to mark their protest against Tiwari’s statement. Samar Bahadur Yadav, the station officer (SO) of Thakurganj, said nearly 2,500 volunteers blocked the road at Balaganj crossing even though no permission was granted for the protest.
“We initially tried to convince the volunteers to end the protest as action had already been taken against Tiwari. We told them that Tiwari had already been arrested on December 2, and booked under the National Security Act. But they refused to end the protest and even blocked Hardoi road,” the SO said. Consequently, the police had to resort to a lathi charge.
One of the local residents, however, said that the trouble started when some of the protesters entered shops belonging to other communities and vandalised them. This spurred the shopkeepers, mostly Hindus, to turn up and raise religious slogans. Violence erupted, and the police had to intervene.
Upon being informed about the incident, district magistrate Raj Shekhar and senior superintendent of Police Rajesh Pandey rushed to the spot. After surveying the area, they deployed police personnel at strategic locations to avert further clashes.