Communal cauldron of Uttar Pradesh’s wild West on boil as East goes to polls

There was a flare-up in Kehri after an objectionable video featuring gods and goddesses went viral on Thursday.

Published: 04th March 2017 02:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th March 2017 05:49 AM   |  A+A-

An election official checks the identity of a woman before she casts her vote at a polling station near Amroha, Uttar Pradesh, India, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. | AP

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: While the eastern region of Uttar Pradesh is set to vote in the crucial penultimate phase of Assembly polls on Saturday, the western part of the State is on the boil once again. The flame of communal tension, which began in Bulandshahr, has now reached Lakhimpur Kheri in Terai.

There was a flare-up in Kehri after an objectionable video featuring gods and goddesses went viral on Thursday. Two persons were injured in skirmishes that followed and two main accused were held by the police. Lakhimpur Kheri is still under the curfew with a relaxation of three hours.

Western UP has always been considered as a communally sensitive region, especially after the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 and Dadri mob lynching in 2015.

The manner in which a series of minor incidents took communal overtones in a recent couple of days is an indication that all is not well in the State’s sugar bowl.

Since February 25, just before the fifth phase of polling, even small scuffles and altercations have brought the two communities face-to-face a number of times.

The emergent post-poll scenario in the west, which remained relatively silent when the region went to vote, is sending not-so-good signals and is keeping the administration on its toes.

Very much on the lines of Lakhimpur Kheri, a video showing a man using objectionable language against gods and goddesses also emerged in Bulandshahr.

The clip went viral and triggered clashes in which three people were injured. The atmosphere in Muzaffarnagar was so charged with a communal passion that a minor altercation between a Dalit and a Muslim youth spiralled into an ugly scenario, with members from both communities indulging in stone pelting.

Top cops in the State are seeing a design to the flare-ups and suspect a conspiracy. “There were a couple of incidents when pieces of meat, probably of a bovine, were found outside a temple and at a farm, leading to tension,” said a senior IPS officer, suspecting a conspiracy.

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