A minor quarrel between two 15-year-old school children, one Hindu and the other Muslim, spiralled out of control after their families clashed in Bahadurgarh village in Hapur district on Thursday afternoon, pelting stones and setting vehicles ablaze, according to the police.
Though the communal flare up did not result in any casualties, about half a dozen shops belonging to both sides were burnt down, while a mosque was also damaged.
“One of the kids, Chand, was from Qureshi community while the other, Gaurav, was from Lodha community. They got into a fight at their school, Lal Bahadur Shastri Inter College, over a trivial matter. Soon after, they informed their families who clashed in the market. This happened at around 2 pm in the afternoon. An FIR has been registered against the rioters under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and 10 persons have been arrested so far,” said R P Pandey, SP (Hapur).
Pandey said that the mosque was being repaired by the district administration and added that the investigation was on to identify others who were involved in rioting. “Due to stone pelting, the side wall of the mosque sustained some minor damage. Also, some miscreant stole the loudspeaker from the mosque. The loudspeaker has been replaced and the mosque is being repaired,” he said.
Heavy police force has been deployed on the ground at Bahadurgarh with civil police officers from Hapur and Ghaziabad districts and the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) present.
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“Although there won’t be any violence now, there might be some tension at the school. A force has been deployed at the school for a day tomorrow,” an officer said.