RAF, ATS stage flag march in old city areas

There was a fresh bout of violence in Old Lucknow on Thursday after Wednesday night’s sectarian clashes which claimed one life and left several others injured. The Rapid Action Force and Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) staged a flag march. Five FIRs have been lodged at the Wazirganj police station and about half-a-dozen persons, including three named in the cases, arrested.

Fourteen companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and four companies of RAF and ATS commandos have been deployed to contain the sectarian violence that has staged a comeback after a gap of several years. Tension had been building up since last week. Following last Friday’s violence in the Nakhas area, objectionable posters had appeared targeting one sect.

Uttar Pradesh ADG (Law and Order) Arun Kumar described the violence as a conspiracy to disturb the law and order situation.

Late on Wednesday, some persons, including women, coming out of a “majlis” (religious congregation) at Deputy Saheb ka Imambara in the Wazirganj area of the old city were fired upon by anti-social elements, alleged to be supporters of a former Bahujan Samaj Party MP. The incident occurred after a sudden power failure in the area.

In the ensuing violence, several persons were injured. A youth in his 20s who suffered gunshot wounds was first taken to the nearby Balrampur Hospital from where he was referred to the Trauma Centre of King George’s Medical University (KGMU). He died later in the night.

The deceased, who was the lone breadwinner of his family after his father’s death some years ago, and the alleged perpetrators of the crime lived in the Ghausganj locality of the Wazirganj area. Members of one sect then took to the streets. They jammed the KGMU crossing demanding the arrest of the accused and indulged in stone throwing. Violence broke out again on Thursday when the youth’s body was being taken for burial. Family members and supporters staged a demonstration after placing the body on the road. They demanded compensation for the victim’s family. Members of the two sects threw stones at each other in Hussainabad, Campbell Road and Ramganj areas. Mr. Kumar denied the charge that the accused were supporters of a former BSP MP.