Media persons belonging to the print and electronic media were attacked shortly after the traditional 'alvida namaz' on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramzan in Lucknow.
Nearly half a dozen reporters and cameramen were injured in the attack that was reminiscent of the attack on the media by kar sevaks on the day of the demolition of the 16th century Babri Mosque on December 6, 1992.
Trouble sparked off when a mob of youth, who had converged at the mosque for the 'alvida namaz', suddenly got aggressive after a speech delivered by a maulana who allegedly made repeated references to the Gujarat riots and the recent Assam killings.
The visibly-agitated youths rose to suddenly take out a protest march towards the state assembly, four kilometers away.
The district authorities' efforts to persuade them to give up the march fell on deaf ears and in utter defiance, the youths headed for their destination.
While formal permission was initially granted to the Jamaat-ul-Islam for taking out a march to mark their protest against the recent targeting of Muslims in Myanmar and the north-east, Lucknow District Magistrate Anurag Yadav had late Thursday night succeeded in persuading them to withdraw their call for the protest march.
However, the decision of the Jamaat leaders could not percolate down to the lower rung of the highly regimented organisation, whose members insisted on going ahead with their passionate march.
Raising slogans against the central government, some of the youths even whipped out rods, knives and spears and first vent their anger at the Buddha Park, where some persons even pelted stones at Lord Buddha's statue.
And as the procession reached Hazratganj, the state capital's fashionable shopping centre, the mob went berserk. Stones were pelted at shops, forcing almost everyone to pull down their shutters.
What the 25,000-strong mob clearly disapproved of was the media coverage, which captured every bit of their unlawful activities. The mob instantly turned their anger towards media persons, particularly camera persons.
Sensing trouble, the camera persons tried moving into their respective vehicles but they were chased and beaten.
Times Now cameraman Manoj and Aaj Tak cameraman Harish were attacked even after they boarded their Indica car to slip out of the mob's reach.
"If we had not ducked and the driver not manoeuvred the vehicle out of the mess, we would have been killed," a visibly terrorised Harish told rediff.com.
The car was, however, smashed with iron rods and other sharp-edged weapons openly brandished by the culprits.
"It is a miracle that we are in one piece," observed Manoj, who received injuries on his arm.
The victims lamented the passive role of the police, which remained a mute spectator to the nearly hour-long violence.
While a criminal case has been registered against "unidentified attackers", no arrest could be made so far.