Six persons including a six-year-old boy were injured in stone-pelting and exchange of fire between members of the Dalit and Gurjar communities in Meerut’s Rithani village late Tuesday evening. Krishna (6) sustained a pellet injury while standing outside his house, while Gajendra (20) was shot at during the clash that lasted around half an hour.
According to the police, two Dalit youths — identified as Vikas (23) and Vipin (21) — were returning to the village when they were allegedly intercepted by Gajendra, a Gurjar, and other members of the community, at the main market. Both youths were thrashed, after which the group fled. Police said Vikas had had a row with Gajendra on Sunday over parking of their vehicles, during which Vikas had allegedly overpowered Gajendra, for which the latter wanted to take revenge.
When news of the Tuesday encounter spread, dozens of Dalits hit the streets. They first took Vikas and Vipin to the Partapur police station and then admitted them in a local hospital. Meanwhile, an alleged Bhim Army volunteer — identified as Ravi — allegedly sent messages to people in nearby villages through WhatsApp. By 8 pm, hundreds of Dalits, raising slogans like ‘Bhim Army Zindabad’ and carrying guns and lathis, assembled there, said a local police officer.
The police further said that members of the Dalit community then attacked the homes of Gurjars in Rithani village, as well as women and children. There was exchange of fire and both groups flung bricks at each other. As a result, the main market was shut down and personnel from three police stations rushed to the spot to control the situation.
“FIRs have been registered by both sides. We have arrested two persons so far and we are conducting raids to arrest others. We are also probing the role of Ravi, who is said to be a Bhim Army activist, but he has not been traced so far,” said Hari Mohan Singh, deputy SP, Brahmpuri.
SP (City) Ranvijay Singh said that an explanation has been sought from the local Partapur police station on why necessary action was not taken when there was a fight between Gajendra and Vipin on Sunday and the incident was reported to the police station.
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