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UP: Kanwariya hooliganism caught on camera, angry 'bhakts' destroy car with children inside

Aug 9 (AZINS) Even as Uttar Pradesh’s top cops were seen showering rose petals on the Kanwariyas, the ‘Shiv Bhakts’ seems to be an agitated lot. After an incident of vandalism was caught on camera in Delhi’s Moti Nagar area, the Kanwariyas went on rampage in Muzaffarnagar market today.

In the incident captured on camera, 10-15 Kanwariyas were seen destroying a car. They were reportedly angry after the car brushed past them.

Ironically, the occupants in the car included two Kanwariyas. The saffron-robed mob kept on smashing the car even as the driver tried to speed away from the spot. There are reports that the car also had three children inside. 

The Muzaffarnagar incident comes a day after the ‘Shiv Bhakts’ had damaged a police vehicle in Bulandshahr.

Meanwhile, some Muslim families in a Bareilly village left their homes recently fearing violence when ‘kanwariyas’ pass through during the annual pilgrimage, an official said today.

Recently Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath too had conducted an aerial survey of the kanwariya route which passes through the state.There was trouble last year at Khelam village in Bareilly district, which falls on the kanwariya route.

This time, the police handed out red cards' as a warning to some Hindu and Muslim families in the village so that the incidents are not repeated, a police official said while requesting anonymity.

About 1,500 villagers were also made to sign a "symbolic bond", committing themselves to paying amounts ranging between Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh if they created any trouble, the official said.

He said drones and CCTV cameras were also deployed over the past few days in the village, which saw no trouble this time.

The official said families which had left the village have now started returning.

But when contacted, senior officials denied that people had shifted out fearing any violence. A spokesperson said a few people may have been away from the village on work.

"They must have gone for some personal work and by now many have returned," Bareilly (Rural) SP Satish Kumar said.

"We have deployed adequate force in the village to ensure normalcy and there was no law and order problem today," the SP said.

District magistrate Virendra Kumar Singh said anti-social elements had fled the village fearing police action.

Additional Director General of Police (Meerut) Prashant Kumar today said his recent gesture of showering rose petal on kanwariyas, as caught on video, had nothing to do with religion.

He said it was meant as a welcome to the pilgrims.

On the attack on a police vehicle in Bulandshahr, he told PTI that an FIR has been registered.

Kumar said a crowd had assembled on the Kanwariya route following an incident of eve-teasing that led to a quarrel between two families.

A police van which reached the spot bore the brunt of this anger, in the presence of the pilgrims, he said.

Every year, thousands of devotees of Lord Shiva take up the kanwar pilgrimage, walking from their homes in various states to Haridwar and Gangotri in Uttarakhand to fetch pots filled with water from the river Ganga.

The water is then offered at their local Shiva shrines on Maha Shivaratri.

Over the last few days, travellers have complained of huge traffic disruptions by the Kanwariyas, who are seen walking in large groups or riding two-wheelers and trucks, ignoring traffic rules and sometimes wielding hockey sticks.