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UP: Tension Gripped Bareilly on Sunday as Kanwar Yatra Allegedly Deviated, Entered Muslim Locality

Clashes and stone-pelting were reported but communal escalation was averted after heavy deployment of police and RAF.
Kanwar Yatra

Image Courtesy: PTI

Lucknow: There was tension in Baradari locality of Bareilly district on Sunday afternoon after clashes involving kanwariyas which culminated with stone-pelting. However, communal escalation was averted after heavy deployment of forces in the area. The situation was reported to be ‘normal’ on Monday.

On Sunday, the kanwariyas, who were on their way to Budaun to get water from the Ganga river, reportedly insisted on taking their procession through an “unauthorised” route, which was a Muslim locality, the police claimed, as per reports. 

The Muslim community members opposed the route chosen by the kanwariyas, who refused to relent, according to some local residents.

Thereafter, women from the Muslim community sat in a protest for almost an hour. The protest ended following assurances given by the administration and police that the kanwariyas will take their procession through the conventional route only.

"Efforts were made to convince the kanwariyas but they remained adamant for almost six hours. The administration made all efforts to persuade them, but they hurled uncivilised slogans at the police and the administration. Seeing their aggression, police resorted to mild use of force," Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Prabhakar Chaudhary told the media, adding that the DJ equipment of the kanwariyas had been seized.

The Rapid Action Force along with heavy police were deployed in the locality. The police are conducting aerial surveys with the help of drones to identify houses where trouble-mongers are storing stones.


Like every year, the administration has specified routes for devotees carrying 'kanwars'. On Sunday, a group of kanwariyas insisted on taking a new route through a Muslim locality despite police and district administration not giving them permission. 

However, a "group of kanwariyas sneaked into the Muslim area" in a procession, said some local residents, alleging that some of them were “armed”.

"This is not new. Every year, kanwariyas provoke us by playing loud music and anti-Muslim slogans. Many times they also throw objectionable stuff at our houses. Had the city administration not been present on the spot, there could have been a riot. Despite the administration not giving permission for a new route for the procession, they were not ready to listen for more than six hours," a local resident told NewsClick on the condition of anonymity.

He said, "A sense of fear has developed. The minority community is living under constant fear as every year we face such intimidation through their procession. Had the district administration not been alert, anything could have happened. If the situation remains the same, we will be forced to migrate to a safer place." 

During the kanwar yatra last week, clashes erupted between a group of kanwariyas and members of the Muslim community, injuring dozens including about 15 security personnel.

This is despite Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath issuing directions that the sound of DJ music during the kanwar procession must be as per the prescribed standards. 

"Give permission to the organisers of the event. But ensure that everyone follows the rules and regulations," he said, adding that there should be no display of weapons in religious processions.

In lieu of the ongoing Kanwar Yatra, the administration has decided to not only shut meat shops, which has put meat sellers out of business but has also rendered them invisible by covering their shop fronts with black cloth.

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