The Moradabad town of Kanth, which has been tense over a religious structure, saw a confrontation between a large number of BJP workers and the police on Friday after they were not allowed to hold a ‘mahapanchayat” here.

To ensure that the ‘mahapanchayat’ doesn’t take place, the local administration detained BJP legislator Sangeet Som, who was an accused in the riots in Muzaffarnagar last year, on his way to Kanth. Besides, three party MPs -- Kunwar Singh Tanwar, Satyapal Saini and Nepal Singh -- were also detained when they tried to violate the ban on their planned “mahapanchayat”.

A senior government official was injured in the stone pelting by party workers protesting against the ban on the ‘mahapanchayat’ by the State government. The police detained over 100 other party activists who tried to defy the ban.

“The police tried to control the agitating workers by using tear-gas and rubber bullets, but the crowd turned hostile and resorted to stone pelting,” said a senior government official in Moradabad administration. This is second such incident of protest by the BJP workers over the issue of a religious structure in Kanth which has polarised the area in the western U.P. town of Moradabad. It all happened because of a row over a trivial issue of installation of a loudspeaker at a religious structure in Kanth. The loudspeaker was removed from the religious structure about three weeks ago allegedly after members of a minority community raised objections which led to protests by BJP workers.

The Akhilesh Yadav-led UP government, which was severely criticised for its failure to prevent and control the riots in Muzaffarnagar, has summoned and deployed extra police force from the neighbouring district.

The administration has banned entry of any outsider in the tense town. The Akhilesh government doesn’t want to take any risk given that last year a ‘mahapanchayat’ in Muzaffarnagar, just over hundred kilometers away from Moradabad, had sparked off a series of communal riots which led to several deaths and displacement of thousands of people from minority community. The BJP had criticised the ban on mahapanchayat called by its workers.