An argument between a Hindu preacher and a Muslim man over what the police say was a "minor issue" snowballed nearly into a riot-like situation this afternoon near Yoga Marg on Lehra Road in Soron, Kasganj, with Hindu and Muslim locals getting drawn to the skirmish in large numbers.
Blaming local Hindu businessmen for organising the katha (narration of stories from Puranas), Muslims vandalised shops at the Kachla Gate vegetable market and also overturned several rickshaw vans of vegetable sellers. The police arrived late and dispersed the rioters using mild force, says a Jagran report.
Hindus shut the market in protest against the incident and filed an incident report at the local police station.
The 'minor issue' that led to the riot saw kathavachak (religious storyteller) Prashant Krishna Shastri Mahere, a resident of Chaudhpur Tiraha, a neighbourhood in Soron, going to the Vatuknath temple on Lehra Road at 11 AM on a motorcycle and, while returning, riding past a tractor parked on the way near Yoga Marg. The tyres of the motorcycle went over a puddle carrying drain water, which splashed on a man called Shahzad who was standing there.
Shahzad, belonging to the neighbourhood, called his brothers and friends, telling them the Hindu man had deliberately muddied him. The Muslim men beat up the narrator who instantly informed his relatives about the incident, calling from his mobile phone. His brother and activists of a Hindu organisation reached the spot promptly.
The Muslims were ready for the clash that ensued. The ruckus continued and spread to the Ramsinghpura vegetable market at Kachla Gate nearby.
The police administration sprung into action upon receiving information about the Hindu-Muslim clash. Inspector Ramesh Bhardwaj, in charge of the Kotwali, reached the spot with the force and dispersed the mob.
The Hindu activists then reached out to shopkeepers, urging them to shut down the market in protest against the incident.
After a while, SDM Sadar Pankaj Kumar reached the spot. He told reporters when matters settled down that the two communities had clashed over a "minor issue". "The situation is under control. People have closed the market," he said.
The inspector said that a case had been registered on the complaint of Prashant Krishna Shastri Mahre, naming four Muslim brothers — Shahzad, Saddam, Saheem and Armaan, all residents of Yoga Marg — and seven or eight unknown people. Cops are looking for the suspects, but no arrest has been made yet, the inspector said.