Violent protests were reported on Friday from Lucknow, Kanpur and Allahabad cities of Uttar Pradesh where Muslim mobs, protesting the attacks on the community in Assam and Myanmar, went on a rampage, attacking passers-by, and vandalising shops and vehicles.
After Lucknow and Kanpur, the violence spread to Allahabad where a mob in the Kareli area set vandalised shops on fire and damaged vehicles. The area was placed under curfew.
"Curfew has been imposed to avoid spread of violence though it has been contained," Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) B.P. Singh told IANS.
Meanwhile the Director General of Police A.C. Sharma appealed to the people of the state not to heed to rumours. "It is my appeal to the people that they should not pay attention to mischieveous SMSs and rumours aimed at disrupting communal harmony in the state," he added.
Talking to IANS, the state police chief said that police have been asked to identify mischief makers with the help of pictures and videography. Police across the state have been asked to be vigilant, he added.
Violence broke out in the Uttar Pradesh capital as hundreds of irate Muslims took to the streets, attacked people, and vandalised shops and vehicles in their way.
It all started after prayers on the last Friday of the month of Ramzan when a mob of over 2,000 people, owing allegiance to Jamaat-e-Ulema, took out a procession from old Lucknow after the 'alvida namaaz' and began moving towards the Vidhan Sabha.
Raising slogans against the killings of Muslims in Myanmar and Assam, the crowd turned violent even targeting the famous Buddha Park where they vandalised many statues and uprooted plants. The police posse present there remained silent spectators.
The crowd was finally physically stopped at the Vidhan Sabha when the protesters wanted to proceed towards the chief minister's Kalidas Marg residence.
The mob then turned its ire on the media persons and cameramen present at the legislature, attacking the journalists, breaking their cameras and vandalising the OB van of a national television channel.
While the mob soon melted away, the media persons staged a sit-in demanding action and arrest of the people who attacked them. They said they would not move until the principal secretary for home came and met them and ordered arrest of the attackers.
Violent protests were also reported from Kanpur also where protesters pelted stones on passers-by at Rizvi Road and Cycle Market areas after the namaaz. Rapid Action Force (RAF) has been deployed to prevent further escalation of violence.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came down heavily on the Akhilesh Yadav government for the violence, accusing it of "playing with fire".
State unit spokesman Vijay Pathak said the fact that such an armed mob was allowed to go on rampage in such a high-security zone of the state capital proved that there was "nothing called a government in the state".
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