Tense Meerut erupts, six hurt in clash with police at banned mahapanchayat

ViolenceA security officer takes on a villager during the clash in Khera on Sunday. pTI

Days after the Muzaffarnagar riots, tension returned to the region once again on Sunday as villagers clashed with police forces at the venue of a mahapanchayat that had been banned by the administration in neighbouring Meerut district.

Related: 9 killed in communal riots in Muzaffarnagar, curfew clamped, army deployed

At least 6 people, including policemen and a woman, were injured in the clash and the police had to lob teargas shells and open fire in the air to control the situation. According to the administration, the Army has been asked to stay alert.

Editorial: Communal conflict in UP must be checked

Officials said a large number of villagers, including several women carrying their children, had gathered in Khera village in Sarghana for the mahapanchayat to protest against the arrest and slapping of National Security Act on local BJP MLA Sangeet Singh Som in connection with the Muzaffarnagar violence.

Timeline: Communal clashes in Akhilesh's UP

Secretary (Home) Kamal Saksena said the mahapanchayat had been called by Som's wife and his brother.

Apart from banning it on Friday, the district administration late Saturday night had also managed to persuade Som to appeal from the Orai jail to his supporters to postpone the mahapanchayat by a week. Following this, the organisers too assured the police and paramilitary forces stationed there that they were not going ahead with their programme. But the message did not apparently reach the 24 villages, dominated by Thakurs, Som's community, as by then people had started gathering at the venue.

By 11 am on Sunday, a huge crowd had gathered at the spot, and the villagers decided to go ahead and hold the mahapanchayat. They reiterated their demands for withdrawal of NSA on Som and immediate release of hundreds of "innocents" arrested for the riots.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.