Business rivalry seen to be behind Shia-Sunni clashes in Lucknow

Business rivalry between groups of two Muslim builders, one Shia another Sunni, was behind the firing on a religious gathering in Wazirganj on Wednesday night, which sparked sectarian clashes in the old city of Lucknow in which two people were killed and nine injured.

Police sources said 37 of the accused named in the FIRs lodged in connection with the violence belonged to one group. One of those killed and four of the critically injured belonged to the rival group.

The second victim, identified as Ved Prakash, who succumbed to his injuries in hospital Friday, was passing by on a scooter and suffered three bullet injuries.

Sources said one of the rival groups is led by former BSP MP Dawood Ahmad and the other by Sayyad Taki Abbas alias Doctor, who is among the critically injured.

Taki Abbas had organised the majlis at Deputy Ka Maqbara on Wednesday night. Suleman alias Shanu, who was killed in the firing, and those critically injured are close to him.

Those named in the FIR as accused are mostly relatives and associates of Ahmad.

Asked if rivalry between the two groups was behind the trouble, ADG of Police (Law and Order) Arun Kumar said police knew the reasons but did not elaborate.

Lucknow Range DIG Navniet Sakera said personal issues could be behind the firing and added the incident was being investigated.

Police sources said the rivalry between Ahmad and Taki Abbas goes back about six years. Until then, Ahmad apparently had a monopoly of the real estate business in the area. But Abbas bought a plot in Golaganj area and built residential flats. Later, he built another residential complex in the same area. Two more buildings are being built near Wazirganj police station.

A senior official said there were instances when Abbas bought certain properties which Ahmad was keen to acquire. As Abbas's business grew, the rivalry between them also increased, although it never led to violence.

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