A group of people, who had gathered to hold a mahapanchayat at Salempur village in Saharanpur to protest the marriage of a Gurjjar girl with a Muslim youth, clashed with policemen Friday afternoon. The police had banned the holding of the mahapanchayat and delopyed security in the area.
The girl has married a Muslim youth in Roorkee in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar district where both of them were studying. She is still at her maternal uncle’s place in Roorkee and the youth, too, lives there.
Gurjjar organisations like Rashtravadi Gurjjar Hindu Mahasabha and other Hindu organisations had declared to hold the mahapanchayat Friday if the girl was not brought home to her family at Salempur village by Thursday.
However, the police prohibited the mahapanchayat and deployed heavy security in the area with borders of Saharanpur being sealed since Thursday evening.
Both the girl and the boy are adults and got married in May last year, said the police. The girl’s family found out about the marriage recently.
Saharanpur SSP Upendra Kumar Agrawal said around 100 villagers managed to reach the venue of mahapanchayat, walking through fields, as the police were patrolling the roads. He said they later entered into a clash with the police force in the Nagal police station area.
While the people started pelting stones, the police fired in the air. Later, the police are learnt to have retaliated with firing and used force to disperse the mob. Some villagers and policemen reportedly suffered injuries.
While the SSP denied that any local was injured, he said a policemen’s face was wounded in stone-pelting. The SSP also claimed that no firing took place.
Agrawal said 10 people have been taken into custody and FIRs are being lodged against those who indulged in violence and held the panchayat. He said most of the persons who gathered were local villagers.