It all began around 5.30 pm on Sunday at Qazipur village when Ikrar Ahmed, the Imam of Chhoti Masjid, was beaten up after a quarrel over a glass of water.
“Three men who live in our village came to the mosque and asked for some water. Someone here offered them tap water. But they insisted on cold water. The person told them that only tap water was available. They started abusing the attendant, barged inside the mosque and beat me up. They even misbehaved with the children studying here,” Ahmed said.On Monday, schools and markets remained shut. Scores of vehicles were torched and rioters even brought down two concrete police posts.
“More than 15 people have been arrested for the riots. We are trying to identify people who started pelting stones. The situation has been brought under control. The schools were closed on Monday as a precautionary measure,” said Santosh Kumar Sharma, District Magistrate, Meerut.
“Three men beat up a local Imam and the trouble started after that. It took a communal colour. Some miscreants deliberately attacked people and houses belonging to members of a particular community. We have also arrested two of the three men who beat up the Imam,” said Gurbachan Lal, Additional Director General, NCR.