Uttar Pradesh police on Friday arrested 16 Muslim youths for allegedly attacking a group of Dalit men in Maharajganj police station area of Azamgarh district two days earlier. Twelve Dalit men sustained injuries in the incident in Sikandarpur Aima village.
The police action came hours after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took cognizance of the incident and ordered the police to invoke the National Security Act against the accused.
The confrontation between the two groups occurred after the Dalit men confronted the accused for allegedly harassing some girls. A 22-year-old man identified as Sudhir suffered an injury caused by a sharp-edged weapon, while 11 others were injured with sticks and stones. According to doctors, the condition of those wounded is stable.
Meanwhile, Azamgarh SSP, Triveni Singh suspended Maharajganj Station House Officer Arvind Pandey on charges of negligence, and announced Rs 25,000 reward for information leading to the capture of three other accused who are absconding. Police presence has been stepped up at Sikandarpur Aima.
Additional SP Narendra Pratap Singh said the 16 accused, one of whom is a minor, would be produced in a court on Saturday.
SSP Singh claimed that the accused used to sit at a tube well in the village, and make objectionable remarks about Dalit girls passing through the area on their way to school.
On Wednesday, when the accused again allegedly passed similar remarks, people from the Dalit community objected. A few minutes later, the accused reportedly assembled and attacked the Dalit locality. They allegedly assaulted people in the area, and pelted stones at women.
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