Haridwar: At least 32 people, including 12 police personnel, were injured on Wednesday as forcible evacuation of a scrap dealer's shop, allegedly by supporters of a local politician, took a communal turn in Roorkee in Uttarakhand's Haridwar district, prompting authorities to impose prohibitory orders.
Police had to resort to a lathicharge and several rounds of fire in the air to disperse the clashing groups of two communities, which hurled stones at each other and torched police vehicles in Landhaura area of Roorkee, Circle Officer Pratap Singh said.
At least 20 people belonging to both groups and 12 police personnel were injured in the clashes, he said.
The shop, belonging to a member of the minority community, was allegedly forcibly evacuated by the supporters of former Khanpur MLA Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion, who was in the news recently for being one of the nine Congress MLAs who revolted against Chief Minister Harish Rawat and later joined the BJP.
Members of the minority community alleged their sacred book was also desecrated in the process as things kept in the shop were thrown out on the road by Champion's men, Singh said.
The minority community members protested outside the residence of the Champion, hurling stones at it and torching four vehicles including two cars outside it, the police official said.
Soon, communal tension soon gripped the area.
The situation in the area is tense but under control, said District Magistrate Harbans Chugh, adding that prohibitory orders have been imposed in Roorkee, in the wake of the incident.
He said senior officials are camping at the spot and police deployment has been strengthened in the area.
Chief Minister Harish Rawat condemned the incident, terming it as the handiwork of a few mad men.
"Those trying to vitiate the atmosphere will not be spared," he said on the sidelines of a function at Shantikunj in Haridwar.