Kanwar pilgrims allegedly set a truck on fire on the Badaun-Bareilly highway in Uttar Pradesh on Friday after it was involved in an accident with the tempo in which the devotees were travelling, reported Asian Age. Several other vehicles were also vandalised, the police said.
Kanwar is an annual pilgrimage of Shiva devotees where as part of a ritual, pilgrims carry water from the Ganga river in containers suspended on the side of a pole. The pilgrims, called Kanwariyas, walk barefoot, often across hundreds of kilometres.
Twenty devotees were injured when the tempo they were travelling in fell into a ditch after being hit by the truck in Binawar area in Badaun district. The accident took place around 4 am when the pilgrims were returning home, said the police.
Soon after, the pilgrims went on the rampage and torched the truck blaming its driver for the accident. They also blocked the Bareilly-Badaun highway for half-a-hour, reported The Times of India.
Additional police personnel were sent to the spot to bring the situation under control. “[The] Police had immediately reached and controlled the situation,” Badaun Senior Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar told The Times of India. “After 40 minutes, traffic had resumed on the route.”
The police have booked the truck driver for rash driving, but no action has been taken against the pilgrims. “On the complaint of the kanwariyas, we have lodged an FIR against the truck driver, Pramod Kumar, who is under treatment after he was beaten by the devotees,” Sub-inspected Ajay Sharma told The Times of India. “We have received no complaint from the driver.”
In the last few days, Kanwar pilgrims have vandalised vehicles in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. The Delhi Police on Thursday arrested a Kanwar pilgrim in connection with vandalising a car in New Delhi’s Moti Nagar on Tuesday evening. The police filed a case against unidentified people after a group of Kanwar pilgrims were caught destroying the car on video. The same day, a group of Kanwariyas allegedly vandalised a police vehicle after a scuffle with residents in Bulandshahr.
In a separate incident, at least 25 Kanwariyas were injured when the bus they were travelling in fell into a ditch between in Patna district on Saturday, PTI reported. The accident took place when the driver of the Jharkhand-bound bus lost control over the vehicle, the police said.