Three persons were injured in a clash that broke out between Shiv Sena members and a Christian evangelist and his supporters in Saraiyya village in Jaunpur district, police said Monday. The clash took place on Sunday when Shiv Sainiks reached the spot to protest against alleged religious conversions.
Police have registered counter 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.
Police said the place was being used for offering prayers and there have been no reports of any religious conversions as alleged. 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 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.
Senior officials rushed to the spot with additional reinforcements and PAC was also deployed. 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. A few others are absconding,” said police. 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. We are keeping a watch. Further investigations are on.”