The Meerut police resorted to a lathi-charge after a joint anti-encroachment drive by the Cantonment Board and the local police met with resistance from a mob that later set on fire a religious place and around 50 houses in the slum area. The mob also torched around 10 private vehicles and damaged eight UP Roadways buses at the fodder market on Wednesday.
Smoke engulfed the area as police and members of the mob fought a pitched battle around 6pm. Police said the protesters also snatched a wireless set from a policeman and a premium mobile handset from a Cantonment Board official.
There are reports of miscreants firing at the officials from rooftops of nearby buildings. Traffic on the stretch on Dehli road was diverted due to the clashes.
Police said around 10 protesters were arrested and large number police and PAC personnel have been deployed in the area to ensure that the trouble doesn’t spread.
Phase-wise anti-encroachment drive has been going on in Meerut for the past few days. Police said trouble erupted when the joint team razed an “illegal” under construction house of a local resident, Pahasu, in the fodder market, adjacent to the busy Dehli road. Dozens of people living in the area came out and clashed with the officials, police said.
“Initially, police resorted to mild lathicharge but later we had to intensify action to control the unruly mob. They set fire to a eligious place in the area and 50 huts in the slums. There are unconfirmed reports that cooking gas cylinders in makeshift houses exploded due to the fire,” said Akhilesh Narain Singh, SP(city), Meerut.
“The situation is under control and we have deployed adequate security personnel in affected areas. More arrests will be made soon,” said SSP Nitin Tiwari.