SHAHJAHANPUR police Sunday arrested five persons after a clash between two groups belonging to different religious communities at Daduri village in the Banda police station area of the district allegedly over arguments on the air strikes conducted by India on Pakistan.
Six persons-three each from both groups-suffered injuries inflicted with blunt objects used in the clash. The Injured, including two women, have been discharged from hospital after receiving medical aid, police said.
The arguments began on the online messaging platform Facebook Messenger between two youths, Ravi Giri, 25 and Mohammad Haneef, 24 who are neighbours in Daduri village. Both of them who belong to farming families are living in other places, one engaged in a job and the other studying.
The clash took place when the two came to their village over the weekend, and entered into heated arguments in person on Saturday morning, carrying over their disagreement from the online platform.
Station House Officer, Banda police station, Harpal Singh said Ravi Giri, who works at a hospital in Chandigarh after completing his Bachelor of Dental Surgery, made some comments over the airstrike while chatting on Facebook Messenger with Mohammad Haneef, a student of M Sc, who is studying in Bareilly. Haneef did not respond to it, and this irked Ravi Giri.
On the festival day of Holi, both Ravi Giri and Haneef reached their village. On March 21, Ravi Giri met Haneef near his house in the village and questioned Haneef about not responding to his comment (on Facebook Messenger),” said Harpal Singh.
A heated argument ensued. Locals then intervened, said police, after which a meeting was called at Haneef’s house on Saturday morning to resolve the issue between the families. “Ravi Giri’s family members went to Haneef’s house (for the talks),” said Harpal Singh. “In the meantime, Ravi Giri arrived there with some others. During the discussion, heated arguments took place and they started abusing each other. The situation took an ugly turn when they clashed and hit each other with sticks.”
On receiving information, a police team rushed to Daduri village and brought the situation under control. Later, a cross-FIR was lodged at Banda police station in Shahjahanpur on various charges including rioting and criminal intimidation, police said.
On Sunday, the police arrested five persons including Ravi Giri and Haneef under IPC section 151 CrPC (breach of peace) and they were later produced before a local court of Shahjahanpur, which released them on bail, Circle Officer, Powayan (Shahjahanpur), Praveen Kumar Yadav said.
Others arrested include Haneef’s cousins Chand Mohammad and Shaan Mohammad and Ravi’s younger brother Harshit, police said.
A large team of police personnel has been deployed at Daduri village, which is a Hindu-dominated area, to prevent any escalation of tensions.
When contacted, Ravi Giri said he had known Haneef since his childhood but was incensed when Haneef did not express support for his comments against Pakistan, “We used to chat over Facebook Messenger regularly. A day after the airstrikes by India, I wrote to Haneef stating that India had taken revenge for the Pulwama attack,” said Ravi Giri. “I also wrote ‘Hindustan Zindabad and Pakistan Murdabad’ and asked Haneef to respond to it. He did not make any comment.”
Ravi Giri claimed that when they met in person, Haneef abused him and made derogatory comments against the nation. “On March 22, I met Haneef in the village. When I questioned Haneef for not responding on my comment, he started abusing me and also made derogatory comments against the country,” said Ravi Giri. “I got irked and heated arguments took place between us.” He added, “On Saturday, when my family went to Haneef’s house to resolve issue, they attacked us.”
Haneef’s elder brother Mohammad Shareef refuted Ravi Giri’s allegations. “Ravi was annoyed with Haneef because he (Haneef) did not respond to his comment on air strikes,” he told the Indian Express. “He is making false allegations that Haneef made objectionable remarks against the country during the arguments. On Saturday, Ravi and others reached our house and attacked us.”
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