Communal tension grips Meerut | india | Hindustan Times
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Communal tension grips Meerut

COMMUNAL TENSION gripped Meerut this morning after clashes took place between Valmikis and Muslims in the Old City area on Thursday night.

india Updated: Feb 04, 2006 01:46 IST

COMMUNAL TENSION gripped Meerut this morning after clashes took place between Valmikis and Muslims in the Old City area on Thursday night.

The confrontation took place when women, who were part of a marriage procession, were molested. Soon after the incident, both the groups engaged in heavy brickbatting. Many members of marriage party, including women, were injured and their valuables looted. Police took into custody three miscreants and managed to control the situation.

However, on Friday morning the issue flared up when some youths invaded the Valmiki locality in Podiwara and opened fire. Inretaliation, the Valmikis attacked the intruders with stones.

A boy was injured in the face when a stone hit him and another suffered splinter injuries in his legs.

The injuries made the Valmikis go on the rampage. They came out on the streets at various places in the town. They blocked traffic at Eves Crossing, Budhana Gate, Hapur Road and Ghantaghar demanding immediate arrest of those who molested the women and injured the men. Traffic in the Old City area remained paralysed for hours and the police had to face a tough time to control the mob.

Personnel of the Rapid Action Force, the PAC, and the police were deployed in sensitive areas of the town.

SSP Rajeev Sabbarwal, along with senior cops, visited the trouble-torn areas and assured stern action against the culprits. They persuaded the leaders to give them time to initiate action against the hooligans.

“We have decided to postpone our protest till 10 am on Saturday. If they fail to arrest the culprits we will demonstrate,” MLA from City area Laxmikant Vajpayee said.

However, Meerut MP Shahid Akhlaq accused former mayor Sushil Gujjar and Vajpayee of provoking people for political interests.

Meanwhile, the Valmikis have decided to stall cleanliness work indefinitely in the town in protest.

In Lucknow, the State Government, however, claimed that the situation was under control.

DIG Meerut RK Vishwakarma, who was in Lucknow, rushed to Meerut to oversee the situation. That the situation is tense could be gauged from the fact that schools and local markets remained closed in the city.

Principal secretary (Home) Alok Sinha said additional security forces have been rushed to the city and RAF has been deployed. He said eight arrests had been made and that schools would reopen on Saturday.

Sinha said Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has sanctioned an ex-gratia relief of Rs 50,000 for injured youth Rakesh Valimki.