A FOUR-YEAR-OLD girl was charred to death on Thursday after her house, along with several others in her village, were set on fire by a mob in Bahraich’s Fakharpur area following a clash between members of the Hindu and Muslim communities during a Durga idol immersion procession.
Bahraich SP Salik Ram said the girl, Soni — daughter of Ashfaq — suffered burn injuries and died on way to the hospital. “Five persons have been taken into custody… Police teams are working to arrest around 20 other accused… An FIR under sections related to murder, arson and rioting has been registered,” he added.
Police said the incident took place when a Durga Puja procession was passing the mosque of Nabbe Khan Ka Purva village. “There was a verbal argument between some Muslim youths and Hindu participants of the puja procession. Prima facie it has been found that the boys, who were at the mosque, asked the other group to leave quickly. This led to arguments between the two groups, which later led to stone pelting,” said DIG (Devipatan Range) Jitendra Pratap Singh, who rushed to the spot after the incident.
He added that later on, a few huts were set on fire by the mob and the girl was trapped in one of them. “She was speech impaired and could not call for help. Villagers rushed her to hospital on finding her charred, but she succumbed on the way.” Heavy police force has been deployed in the area.
State Minister for Trade Tax and local MLA Yasir Shah said Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 9 lakh to the family of the deceased and help will also be extended to those who lost their belongings in the fire after proper evaluation.
Meanwhile, a few other minor incidents of communal tension were reported from Bareilly, Kaushambi, Rae Bareli, Sitapur and Pratapgarh on Tuesday and Wednesday over idol immersion and Muharram processions. Earlier in the day, DGP Javeed Ahmad had congratulated police for “peaceful conduct” of law and order on Dussehra and Muharram, a spokesperson had said. Minor incidents of tension at a few places were brought under control by officers, he added.