Communal violence between Hindus and Muslims erupted in a colony in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district on Sunday evening (5 March), over the ritual of Holi Dahan, ahead of Holi that falls on 8 March.
The ritual involves lighting a bonfire on the night before Holi, which is played with colours. It is a symbolic burning of Holika from the legendary tale of the salvation of her nephew Prahlada.
A few days before this ritual, people set up wooden pyres in various colonies and grounds.
Stones were pelted and glass bottles were hurled between two groups in the Purwa Ilahi Baksh area that falls under the jurisdiction of Brahmpuri police station.
Today morning (6 March), the official Twitter account of Meerut police posted an update in the matter. The post said that on 5 March, two groups beat up each other under the influence of alcohol.
Contrary to news reports, the post said that neither any person was grievously injured nor the Holika pyre was damaged in any way.
On what triggered the violence, Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar said that a Muslim person mocked two Hindu men asking for donation for the ritual, by comparing it with begging.
News agency ANI too said that, “trouble began when two men were collecting donations for Holi celebrations” and “entered into a scuffle with some persons of another community over alleged derogatory remarks made by them”.
As per ANI, six persons were injured.
The Prabhat report said that the family of local councillor Shahzad Mewati was involved in the violence.
On the day of the Holi Dahan, that is on 7 March, the Muslims will simultaneously celebrate Shab-E-Barat, a festival where they ask for forgiveness of their sins from God.
Police across the state have been holding peace talks and issuing advisories for celebration of both the festivals without any violent incidents.
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