Three persons were injured in a clash that broke out between Shiv Sainiks and a Christian evangelist and his supporters in Saraiyya village under Nevadhia police station area of Jaunpur district, police said Monday. The clash occurred Sunday when the Shiv Sainiks reached the spot to protest against alleged religious conversions.
The police have registered cross cases in this connection and arrested 10 people, including the evangelist, Lalchandra Rajbhar, and the district head of Shiv Sena, Achhey Lal Tiwari, on charges of rioting and voluntarily causing hurt.
The police said the place was being used for offering prayers and there have been no reports of any religious conversions as alleged.
The Shiv Sainiks had earlier given a letter to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate seeking permission to stage protest at the site. However, the administration denied it.
According to the police, the incident occurred when Lalchandra Rajbhar, a resident of Saraiyya village, was holding a prayer meeting in an enclosure on Sunday morning. Around 10.30 am, Shiv Sainiks, led by Tiwari, reached the spot and began protesting. Some policemen deployed at the spot tried to resolve the issue.
However, soon arguments led to fisticuffs and stone-pelting. Apart from Tiwari, another Shiv Sainik Manoj Tiwari and Pramod Rajbhar, one of Lalchandra’s followers, were injured. They were taken to the local health centre. The injuries were not serious, the police said.
Senior officials rushed to the spot with additional reinforcements and PAC was also deployed. The police used force to disperse the crowd. Around the same time, former district BJP convenor, Harendra Prasad Singh, also reached the spot. He, too, was detained but later released.
“Both the sides have given complaints and we have lodged FIRs accordingly. At least 10 people have been arrested, including Lalchandra and Tiwari. A few others are absconding,” said Station Officer (Nevadhia), Arvind Yadav.
Superintendent of Police (Jaunpur), Pramod Kumar, said: “The fight was between the Shiv Sainiks and those offering prayers. The BJP leader had nothing to do with it. He was only detained. We are keeping a watch. Further investigations are on.”