MAHARAJGANJ POLICE in Uttar Pradesh arrested 10 people on Monday in connection with a clash at Bargadwa village of the district after they allegedly objected when a flag put up for Muharram was replaced with a saffron one on Sunday. Seven people were left injured.
The arrests were made on the basis of a complaint filed by local resident Ram Nayan. The FIR was registered under IPC Sections 147 (rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance) against 14 people — all Muslims — and 25 unidentified people.
“The other group (Muslim residents) has not filed any police complaint so far,” said Manish Kumar Singh, SHO of Panivara police station, where the FIR was registered.
According to the SHO, around Sunday noon a group of people tried to remove a green flag put up on an electric pole in the village. The group, comprising members of the Hindu community, wanted to put up a saffron flag instead, he said.
“When they were trying to remove the flag, some members of the Muslim community arrived there and objected. A heated argument ensued and soon more people joined in…It eventually led to a clash,” Singh said.
Police said members of both groups threw stones and attacked each other with sticks. A police that arrived at the spot had to use force to disperse the crowd. Several Muslim men have left the village since the clashes, a police officer said.
The arrested people — all of them residents of Bargadwa village — were later produced before a local court, which sent them to judicial custody, Maharajganj Circle Officer Devendra Kumar said.
Heavy police force is deployed in the village, which has a 65-per cent Hindu population.