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Meerut: Hindu youths attacked by Shahzad and his associates for seeking donations for Holika Dahan, stones pelted in Brahmpuri

Meerut police refuted the religious angle in the violence and claimed that the members of the two groups beat up each other under the influence of alcohol.

On the evening of Sunday (March 5), clashes between Hindus and Muslims erupted in the Purwa Ilahi Baksh area that falls under the jurisdiction of Brahmpuri police station in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district, over the ritual of Holi Dahan, ahead of Holi that is to be celebrated on March 8. According to media reports, stones were pelted and glass bottles were hurled between two groups.

On what triggered the violence, several news agencies reported that Muslim youths mocked two Hindu men seeking donations for the ceremony by comparing it to begging. The Muslims also allegedly kicked the ritualistic wooden pyre that is set up and lit on Holika Dahan, symbolising the burning of Holika.

After this stone pelting started from both sides. According to reports, two people from the Hindu community, who were injured in the violence blamed several Muslim men from the area for attacking them and threatening to ruin their Holi celebrations.

The Meerut police, however, today (March 6) took to Twitter to refute the religious angle in the violence. It claimed that the members of the two groups beat up each other under the influence of alcohol. Contrary to news reports, the post said that neither any person was grievously injured nor the Holika pyre was damaged in any way. 

In what had transpired, some Hindu locals namely Amit Gupta, Sonu Prajapati, and Mullu Chanda were collecting donations for the Holika Dahan celebrations which is being held in the Harinagar neighbourhood of the Brahmapuri police station area every year for the last 50 years. According to reports, local councillor Shahzad Mewati, his brother Bhura, and sons (Intezaar and Seefu) arrived at the scene and began insulting the Hindu youths who were seeking contributions.

According to locals, Shahzad and those with him allegedly directed the Hindu youths who were soliciting contributions, to take money from them also and convert to Islam by accepting donations. The Hindu youths got offended and a verbal spat broke out between the two groups.

The minute the objection was voiced by the Hindu youths, Shahzad and his allies attacked them, as per reports. The Hindu side has also complained that Shahzad and his allies also kicked the Holika pyre set-up. This triggered the violence and in no time other members of both communities came face to face and started pelting stones and glass bottles at each other.

Visuals from the scene shared on Twitter showed damaged vehicles, broken window panes and panic-gripped locals screaming.

After the purported incident took place yesterday, the Meerut Police said that they had detained three persons. 

A heavy police deployment has been made as tension prevailed in the area under the Brahmapuri police station limit and the situation was under control now

SP Sajwan said they are scanning CCTV footage to identify the culprits and added that no arrest has been made so far in connection with the case.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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