Large scale violence triggered by a clash between policemen and villagers left one dead and several other injured in a village on the outskirts of Allahabad, 200 km from Lucknow, on Friday.
While a young man fell victim to a stray bullet during an exchange of fire between public and police, nearly half a dozen cops were injured and hospitalised on account of the daylong violence and arson that rocked Mariyadih village.
According to the police, violence erupted around 11 am and continued until late evening. Violence escalated on account of the absence of all senior officials who were in Lucknow, attending a meeting convened by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Trouble was sparked off after a team of policemen raided the village in search of a wanted criminal. What provoked the villagers was the cops' swoop on a gambling den from where they tried arresting a few gamblers.
In their bid to resist arrest, some villagers started pelting stones at the cops, who in turn opened fire, which left a young man wounded.
Even as le the victim Tufail was completely out of danger, rumour mills churned out stories of his death, which provoked the villagers once again. Coming out in much larger numbers, they blocked the main highway and indulged in indiscriminate violence, following which a bigger contingent of cops was rushed to the scene.
But far from getting cowed down, the irate mob not only opened fire at the cops but also indulged in arson, burning down their vehicles and stoning every passing vehicle.
According to Allahabad Senior Superintendent of police Naveen Arora, who was in Lucknow at the time of the incident, "The cops observed utter restraint until the mob went completely out of control and started firing in which at least half a dozen policemen including Superintendent of police S K Yadav were injured."
One stray bullet killed Faiz, a local villager while another person identified as Ayaz was grievously injured.
Later, on being contacted, Villagers blamed it all on rampant corruption in the police ranks for the entire trouble. They accused the police of raiding the village only with the intent of extorting money, which actually triggered all the trouble.