The district administration has invoked prohibitory orders in Kanth area of Moradabad district, after the BJP gave a call for mahapanchayat to protest against the removal of a loudspeaker from a temple by the police last week.
The mahapanchayat has been called on Friday (July 4).
Tension started brewing in the area after police removed the loudspeaker from a temple in Akbarpur Chendri village of the district on Thursday. Protesting against the action, a large number of shops in the local market have remained closed since Friday and a group of locals, including some right-wing organisation members, clashed with the police in Kanth town the same day during a road blockade against the removal of the loudspeaker.
Later, 19 people were booked for attacking the policemen.
Akbarpur Chendri village is situated near the native village of local MLA Aneesur Rahman of Peace Party.
Kanth Circle Officer Rahul Kumar said BJP MP Sarvesh Kumar Singh had visited Akbarpur Chendri village — with over 80 per cent Muslim population — on June 16 and was felicitated near the temple. Kumar said the MP had then told the locals to let the loudspeaker remain at the temple.
The CO said a complaint was later given by some villagers to remove the loudspeaker as it could create disharmony in the area. The administration removed it on finding there was no tradition of using the loudspeaker at the temple during this period.
IG, Bareilly Zone, Zaki Ahmed said the loudspeaker was mounted at the temple only during Shivratri festival. He said there was no tradition of loudspeaker being used on other days so it was removed. However, BJP’s leader Bhupendra Singh claimed the loudspeaker has been at the temple for last 40 years and was removed at the behest of the Peace Party MLA.
He said all BJP MPs from western UP and leaders will attend the mahapanchayat to demand the restoration of the loudspeaker.