Meerut tense after violence, curfew inposed (Second Lead)

June 17th, 2009 - 10:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Meerut, June 17 (IANS) The situation in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district where two groups clashed and indulged in arson and vandalism, leaving 15 people injured Tuesday, was tense but under control Wednesday as curfew was imposed in some parts, police said.
The areas under the four police stations Brahmpuri, Lisari Gate, Delhi Gate and Kotwali, where the curfew was imposed late Tuesday night, remained out of bounds.

The sensitive pockets where rioters indulged in violence were kept under strict patrolling by the police, the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and the Rapid Action Force (RAF). No movement was witnessed in these areas as the markets remained shut.

Compared with the normal days, almost 80 percent vehicles stayed off the roads in these areas. Most offices, schools and other educational institutions remained closed.

There was some movement on the Meerut-Delhi road.

A flag march of police, PAC and RAF was held in the curfew-affected areas that was led by Meerut Inspector General Bhanu Pratap Singh.

“The situation is completely under control. Heavy patrolling is being conducted. After Tuesday night, no incident was reported and the situation is totally under control,” Singh said.

Singh, however, could not say as to when the curfew would be relaxed. “It would be decided only after a security review of the present situation,” Singh said.

Sources in the administration said there was no chance of curfew relaxation Thursday.

A verbal dispute between shopkeepers and a group of Muslim protesters snowballed into a violent clash late Tuesday night in Lisari Gate area of Meerut, about 350 km from Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow.

Some shopkeepers allegedly manhandled the driver of a tractor-trolley carrying the Muslim protesters. The driver was allegedly trying to park the vehicle in a prohibited area close to a railway crossing, a senior police officer said.

The violence soon spread to other localities, including Ghantaghar, Pir Tiraha and Bhumia Pul, where angry mobs targeted buses and police vehicles. At least six police motorcycles were set ablaze.

In order to disperse the angry mob, the police along with PAC and RAF personnel resorted to lobbing tear gas shells and baton charging the vandals.

Meerut Deputy Inspector General of Police Brij Bhushan said: “Fifteen people were injured in the incident. They have been admitted to the district hospital. Twenty people have been arrested for rioting. The situation is under control.”

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