Biswajeet Banerjee | The News Minute | July 4, 2014 | 7.02 pm IST
BJP workers clashed with police in Kanth, in Moradabd in western Uttar Pradesh after district administration banned the Mahapanchayat – a meeting – called over installation of loudspeaker in a temple, which was removed by police a few days ago.
Tension rose when an irate mob led by BJP activists clashed with the police in which District Magistrate Chandrakant received a serious head injury. Doctors have referred him to Delhi for treatment. The mob pelted stones at the policemen near the railway station, who in turn chased them. Over 50 people including police were injured.
A government spokesman said more than 300 people including three BJP MPs and the party's legislator Sangeet Som - who was an accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots - were detained as they tried to defy a ban on the Mahapanchayat. Kunwar Singh Tanwar, MP from Amroha, Satyapal Saini MP from Sambhal and Nepal Singh, Rampur MP, were detained along with Som as they tried to head towards Kanth area this morning.
Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code has been promulgated in the district to prevent any meetings, he said.
Mahapanchayat is a big meeting where people of neighbouring villages take part. Sometimes villagers in neighghbouring states like Haryana too attend these meeting in which leaders give inflammatory speeches. The Western Uttar Pradesh is notorious for such mahapanchayats. Leaders of all hues tend to call mahapanchayats and ask people to defy government orders.
The BJP had called the mahapanchayat to garner support to restore a loudspeaker at a temple in Kanth, about 40 km from the Moradabad city. As today is the first Friday in the month of Ramzan, tension built up in the region following the call for a mahapanchayat by the BJP.
Last week minority community had objected to the loudspeaker being installed at a religious place in Kanth, after which the district administration stepped in to remove it. This allegedly led to communal tension. Two weeks ago, BJP workers who tried to protest in the area clashed with policemen.
Reports say that the UP administration had denied permission to the BJP to hold a mahapanchayat fearing that it could flare up communal tension in the area. UP government claimed that an agreement has been reached between the people of two communities over the issue but BJP refused to accept the agreement.
Meanwhile Samajwadi Party, Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party leaders have condemned the BJP's move. SP spokesperson Rajendra Choudhury charged the BJP of trying to instigate communal disturbances in the state before the festival season.'' Government would not allow such illegal act of the BJP,'' he stressed.
Congress legislator Akhilesh Pratap Singh too alleged that the BJP was just interested in raking up a communal flare in the state for their political gains. BSP General Secretary and Leader of the Opposition in the UP Assembly Swami Prasad Maurya too charged the BJP of instigating communal tension in the state.
But BJP State President Laxmikant Bajpai said that the party had called the mahapanchayat in support of a peoples' issue alleging that the government was biased towards one section of the society and ignoring the other.