Three persons were killed and around a dozen injured when two groups of devotees clashed with each other following a dispute over offering prayers at a temple in Etawah district on Sunday, prompting the provincial armed constabulary (PAC) to open fire.
The violence erupted when hundreds of people from two villages — Sirsa and Birar — had gathered at the ancient Brahmari Devi in Balrai area on the occasion of Ram Navami, the ninth day of Navratri.
The fight broke out over who gets to hoist a religious flag first at the temple, and the people resorted to throwing stones and arson, the police said
The police and PAC personnel intervened and arrested some villagers, but the situation spiralled out of control and some devotees allegedly opened fire.
In a “bid to control the situation”, PAC personnel opened retaliatory fire, leaving three persons dead. However, the police claimed only two persons were killed in the violence.
Several police constables and PAC personnel were also injured in the clash, deputy general of police AC Sharma said.
The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered a CB-CID probe into the firing. Senior administrative and police officers have reached the spot.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced an ex-gratia of Rs5 lakh to the family of each deceased and Rs50,000 to each injured.
Yadav also reviewed the situation and directed the police to restore normalcy in the area.