The Azamgarh district administration Wednesday prevented Rashtriya Ulema Council from holding a meeting of its workers at Fariha in the wake of the violence in Muhammadpur under Gambhirpur police station area of Azamgarh district Monday.
One person was killed and two others were seriously injured, while nearly 50 shops were damaged in the violence. One person, Syed Wasim Ahmed, who had allegedly led the mob and was detained Tuesday was arrested and sent to jail Wednesday.
Azamgarh Range DIG P K Mishra said tension continued to prevail in two affected villages but no untoward incident occurred after Monday night. The market was opened but the PAC personnel along with local police teams are deployed in the area.
Meanwhile, police and administration officials said there was nothing so far to indicate a dispute over setting up of a platform around the banyan tree where a deity had been worshipped for long. Objection to laying of a few bricks around the banyan tree for a small platform had allegedly led to the violence.
The officials maintained they had also not come across any instance of civil litigation regarding the spot, which is adjacent to the road.
Additional District Magistrate (City), Ashutosh Dwivedi, said: “A programme of the workers of Rashtriya Ulema Council had been planned in Fariha. However, the administration had not given permission for the same. When they tried to take out a march, the administration officials and the police talked to workers and the programme was not allowed to be held.” Fariha is barely four km away from Muhammadpur on the road towards Azamgarh.
Wasim Ahmed Farahi, head of the Fariha unit of the Council, said at least 10 workers courted arrested in a symbolic gesture. Tahir Madni, a senior office-bearer of the Council, said: “I was in Mumbai for a week. I returned today and the national president, Aamir Rashadi, is on his way to Azamgarh from Delhi. In the wake of the Muhammadpur incident, we decided that the programme should be stopped.”
Madni blamed the administration and the police for failing to take preventive action after they knew that there was some dispute. “There was no problem with the existing system at the spot around the banyan tree. But when a new thing was initiated, it led to the dispute. The police should have intervened early,” he said.
Azamgarh BJP MP Rama Kant Yadav too visited the spot Tuesday, when the residents of Ranjit Patti blocked the traffic for a few hours, demanding compensation. “We have demanded Rs 25 lakh as compensation for the family of the deceased. Also, we got an FIR lodged in connection with the shops that were damaged,” said Sahjanand Rai, the district chief of BJP.
Rai alleged that the arrested accused had been troubling the traders in the Muhammadpur Bazar for over a year and was also involved in extorting money. Rama Shankar Yadav, elder brother of Vijay Pratap Yadav, who was killed in the Monday violence said that, as per his understanding, the land belongs to Ranjit Patti. His wife, Kiran Yadav, is local pradhan (village head).