Three persons have been killed and scores others, including a Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), have been injured in the violence that rocked Rudrapur town of Udham Singh Nagar district today. Curfew has been imposed in the town and the district administration has requisitioned two companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) to control the situation.
The communal clash between Hindus and Muslims saw large-scale arson and violence in the town as several vehicles, including two belonging to the police, were torched and damaged. Several shops were also burnt in the clashes.
Eyewitnesses said that several rounds of firing were also witnessed. The police are also learnt to have fired into the air to control the mob. Massive stone pelting continued through the day.
The trouble had started three days back when there were reports that the holy Quran had been desecrated and thrown into someone’s house in the Bhadaipura locality of the town.
An uneasy calm had prevailed in the town as there had been protests from the minority community and posturing by the right-wing elements in the majority community.
On Sunday morning, the act of desecration was allegedly repeated and the holy book was thrown outside a house along with some pork. Officials told The Tribune, “This is a preplanned act by persons who want to foment communal trouble.”
This was followed by a furore from the minority community that carried out a protest march and allegedly resorted to arson which gradually got converted into a massive riot.
Talking to The Tribune, District Magistrate Dr BVRC Purshottam said, “There have been three casualties. Two have died in the violence while the cause of the death of the third victim is yet unknown. We have sought two companies of the RAF - one is on the way from Moradabad and one is being airlifted from Delhi. This was a pre-planned act and the guilty will not be spared. The situation is slowly moving towards normal.”
Ordering the imposition of curfew, Purshottam has appealed to the residents to maintain peace. The town has been divided into sectors and Sector Magistrates have been deployed with ample police force.
Two of the deceased have been identified as Abdul Rehman of Kheda village and Sher Singh Yadav of Bhadaipura. The third victim is yet to be identified.
By the time of the filing of this report, small skirmishes inside congested localities were still on.