continued in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut district with curfew being
relaxed for only three hours Thursday, a day after 15 people were
injured when a verbal dispute between two groups escalated into
large-scale vandalism and arson.
"After a meeting with the district administration, it has been
decided to relax the curfew from 9 a.m. to 12 noon," Superintendent
of Police (Meerut City) Rakesh Jolly told IANS over the phone.
Another review meeting between police and the district
administration would be held in the evening to decide on further
relaxation of curfew orders.
The trouble had started in Lisari Gate of Meerut, about 350 km from
here, late Tuesday when some shopkeepers had allegedly manhandled
the driver of a tractor-trolley carrying some Muslims to a religious
"The driver was allegedly trying to park the vehicle in a prohibited
area close to a railway crossing," Jolly had said earlier.
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.
For security measures, heavy police deployment has been made in
various parts of Meerut. "To prevent any untoward incident, four
companies of PAC (Provincial Armed Constabulary) and six companies
of the RAF (Rapid Action Force) have been deployed in the district
along with other security personnel," said Jolly.
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.
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
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.
order to disperse the angry mob, the police along with PAC and RAF
personnel resorted to lobbing tear gas shells and baton charging the
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."