Mob goes berserk in Meerut, UP over anti-encroachment drive; attacks police, burns houses

An anti-encroachment drive in Meerut, UP triggered vicious mob violence on Wednesday afternoon, reports Dainik Jagran. Police was pelted with stones and fired upon from roofs and 150 jhuggis (slum houses) were set on fire. Dozens of buses were vandalized, passengers looted and terrorized.

It took around 2 dozen fire trucks to bring the fire under control by 11 PM at night – property worth lakhs, including livestock, were destroyed. Police forces from several districts and RAF had to be rushed to end the violence.

Meerut Cantt board officials along with police had gone to remove illegal encroachments in Bhusa Mandi, Kesar Ganj of Sadar Bazaar police station area. As they were returning after completing their work, an incensed mob of local Muslims started pelting stones on them. The mob thrashed a police constable and cantt board supervisor and looted their wireless set and mobile phone. Police responded with a lathi charge and arrested 4 rioters.

The matter seemed to have settled down, but soon a rumor was started that a mosque had been set on fire by the administration. Soon the mob swelled again and set fire to a cluster of jhuggis in a predominantly Hindu area. Many vehicles were also set on fire. There are reports that a gas cylinder exploded and made the fire even more intense.

The violence quickly spread to Delhi road and Jali Kothi. Roadways buses were attacked and passengers looted, forcing police to block several roads. Shots were fired on police from rooftops. Internet services were suspended in the city till Thursday morning. Previously, such violence was witnessed in April last year during the Bharat Bandh called by several ‘Dalit’ groups.

2 police constables and 3 Cantt board employees are reported to have been injured in the violence.

Sadly, such outbreaks of violence in the tightly packed localities of Western UP towns are not uncommon. Despite the welcome drive against criminals and gangsters initiated by CM Yogi Adityanath, there are still several ‘no go’ areas in the gulli-mohallas of Western UP where the writ of police and administration barely runs.

Many common citizens are also wondering why such major rioting and attack on police, in a town just a few hours from the national capital is not getting the attention it deserves from national media, which seems more obsessed with the stage-managed attack on a Kashmiri dry fruit seller in Lucknow yesterday.


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