The Uttar Pradesh Police were put on high alert on Tuesday after they received intelligence that a series of incidents might have been planned to incite communal violence in the state. There was tension in the town of Deoband in Saharanpur district after a Muslim man jumped under a truck carrying Kawarias, Shiva devotees who participate in the annual Kanwar Yatra. The man died on the spot.
A video of the incident has been widely shared on social media. In the clip, the man – identified as Wahid from Deoband’s Laheswada locality – appears to deliberately throw himself under the truck.
Superintendent of Police of Saharanpur (Rural) Vidya Sagar Mishra told Scroll.in that the police had received the video on WhatsApp. “But its authenticity has yet to be verified,” he said. “It seems like it is just part of a bigger picture. We are interrogating bystanders, but the situation is under control.”
The incident took place under a partially built bridge on the Saharanpur-Muzaffarnagar highway. Muslims gathered in large numbers at the spot after the man’s death, forcing the police to step in and prevent communal clashes. Officers filed a First Information Report and questioned the Kawarias who were in the vehicle.
Police also investigating whether it was a coincidence
However, Senior Superintendent of Police of Saharanpur Babloo Kumar said the incident could either have been a coincidence or a planned attempt at inciting communal tension, and that the police are investigating both angles.
“The accident took place around 8 am, and the video went viral around 1 pm” Kumar told Scroll.in. “It can be a coincidence or a planned case as the man was a little disturbed, as his family claimed.”
Another incident in Western Uttar Pradesh has the police on alert. Unverified reports say that a Kawaria had allegedly attempted to commit suicide inside a Muslim man’s house in Muzaffarnagar district’s Purkazi town.
Residents from the area are believed to have called the police after they heard women and children screaming from inside Istekar’s house. The man told local media that Karan Singh had tried to hang himself from a ceiling fan. The police said they will not file an FIR in this case.