Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh witnessed communal clashes on Friday night, leaving hordes of people including policemen injured, after a Muslim mob attacked a convoy of Kaanwariyas (devotees of Lord Shiva) for taking out their kaanwar yatrathrough ‘their area’.
This supposed ‘Muslim area’ through which any Hindu religious procession can’t be allowed, is a village named Khailam falling under Aliganj police station of Bareilly district.
According to a report in Patrika, on Friday evening when Kaanwariyas were returning to their homes after offering prayers to Lord Shiva, Muslims of Khailam village objected to them passing through the main road in their area terming it a “new development”.
Kaanwariyas refused to bow down to this diktat and demanded that they be allowed to take the route. As per a Times of Indiareport, every year Kaanvariyas pass through the road as it is the only route to reach the river Ramganga.
This led to a stalemate and protests by the Kaanvariyas, which caused a traffic jam for over three hours. In their attempt to break the logjam, local administration and police is reported to have asked the Kaanwariyas to not play any music while passing through the ‘Muslim area’.
However, when the convoy of Kaanwariyas passed through the village, they were attacked with bricks and stones. The mob even resorted to firing, which further led to stampede among the Kaanwariyas. Many of the Kaanwariyas were reportedly dragged and beaten up.
According to a report in Hindustan, the mob is supposed to have collected these bricks and stones in those three hours when Kaanwariyas were protesting against this ‘ban’ on their route.
This attack happened in presence of police forces and jawans of ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police), and many security personnel are also reported to have suffered injuries while trying to rescue the Kaanvariyas. Even women and children were not spared by the mob.
The area is currently tense but under control. Police says that they are identifying accused and arrests will be made in the case.
While a report by ABP News claims that the mob attacked because Kaanvariyas didn’t heed to the administration request of not playing any music while passing through the ‘Muslim area’, no such conclusion can be drawn from other media reports mentioned in this article.
Was it an attempt to rationalise the violence by Muslim mob by ABP? This can’t be said for sure, but the media has betrayed on many occasions their belief that “Muslim areas” should be kept away from “provocative” Hindu religious or political slogans and symbols. An example from early this year: