Lucknow, April 23 (IANS) Violence broke out in Deoband city in northwest Uttar Pradesh late Tuesday, following the death of a vendor who was allegedly beaten up by policemen. Angry mobs soon took to the streets and indulged in heavy stone pelting.
Police allegedly forcibly removed the vendor's cart and beat him up, resulting in his death. Deoband is a city in Saharanpur district, 580 km from state capital Lucknow.
The angry crowd soon targeted vehicles passing through the area and set on fire three cars. In the stone pelting, the circle officer of Deoband, Charan Singh, and three other policemen suffered injuries.
Heavy reinforcement of police has been rushed to the violence-hit area and the deputy inspector general of police (DIG) and the senior superintendent of police (SSP) are camping in the area to thwart any attempt to escalate the violence, Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) R.K. Vishwakarma told IANS.
Police said preliminary reports suggest that the incident triggered off during an anti-encroachment drive, during which some carts and vendors were removed forcibly from the roadside.
In the melee that followed, owing to protests by shopkeepers, a policeman allegedly hit a vendor named Afzal by a baton and he died.
When the crowd went berserk and vent their ire on the police force, the circle officer and the inspector fled the crime scene and took refuge in the Public Works Department (PWD) guest house, which was also attacked by the mob.
"Additional police force from Shamli and Bijnore districts have been rushed to the violence-hit area, but the situation is still not under control. We are however trying our best," Vishwakarma said.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who is in New Delhi to take an early Wednesday flight to the US for his Harvard business school trip, has been informed of the developments, officials said.