Communal clashes spread to villages near Agra

A day after communal clash erupted in Shamshabad, 25 km from Agra, over a Facebook post allegedly against Prophet Muhammad, the violence spilled over to nearby villages.

Though the police said on Saturday that the situation was under control, there were unconfirmed reports of vandalism at four religious places in three interior villages of Agra.

According to local sources, while the police focussed on maintaining peace in Shamshabad, the rioting mob vandalised religious places in Dhamaina Road, Uncha Gaon and Naya Baans Gaon, located in the vicinity of Shamshabad.

Shamshabad witnessed violence on Friday after a mob, angry with the ‘objectionable’ comment against the Prophet, forced shops to shut and set afire some makeshift structures. The mob also caught hold of Akash Gupta, owner of a Jewellery shop, who had allegedly made an offensive comment on Facebook. Mr. Gupta was beaten up by the mob after which people tried to hang him by tying a rope around the neck. Local shopkeepers intervened and Mr. Gupta was rescued from the mob.

DIG Lakshmi Singh told the media that a case had been registered against the mob for disturbing law and order while another FIR was registered against Mr. Gupta for posting objectionable comments.

Over 100 people from both sides have been booked. Six persons have been arrested.

Senior Superintendent of Police D. Modak took to local FM Radio to appeal to people not to pay heed to rumour mongers.

Considering the sensitive festival of Janmashtami, officials expressed concern at the possibility of violence and tension spreading to nearby districts of Mathura and Aligarh. Many companies of police personnel have been deployed in Shamshabad and its vicinity to ensure peace. Forces were deployed in Mathura and Aligarh too as a precaution.