Communal tension flares up in western Uttar Pradesh again

Communal tension flares up in western Uttar Pradesh again

Tension gripped two western Uttar Pradesh districts after clashes between members of two communities, during which shots were fired, injuring over a dozen people, including a few police personnel.

According to police sources here, tempers flared up in Sambhal district, about 400 km from here, after some miscreants set ablaze a religious precinct late on Wednesday night. The fire gutted a holy book and some other articles kept in the building.

A large number of people came out to the streets and blocked the Sambhal-Bahjoi road, demanding immediate arrest of the culprits. More people joined the protesters on Thursday, as a result of which the situation threatened to go out of hand, said the sources. The crowd, which carried sticks, also indulged in heavy stone-pelting when the police tried to disperse them and open the road for traffic. Some cops, including an inspector, were injured in the stone-pelting, said the sources.

In another incident, members of two communities fought a pitched battle at Lisadi village in the communally sensitive Meerut district, about 450 km from here, following an altercation over playing of a loudspeaker on Thursday night.

According to police sources here, members of one community objected to the playing of the loudspeaker by the other, and demanded that it be stopped. Both communities indulged in stone pelting and also exchanged shots. Six people were said to be injured in the clash. Security personnel have been deployed at both places to maintain order, said sources, adding that the situation was tense but under control.

Officials said cases have been registered in both cases and efforts are on to identify the culprits. Both Sambhal and Meerut are not very far from the Muzaffarnagar district, which had witnessed large-scale communal violence last September.

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