A communal clash broke out in Kanpur on Friday after members of one community started forcing the closure of shops in the Beconganj area after the Friday prayers.
The members had announced the closure of the market in protest against BJP spokesman Nupur Sharma's purported derogatory remarks on Prophet Mohammad.
The two sides hurled bombs and opened fire as members of one of the groups attempted to shut shops over alleged insulting remarks made by BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma during a television debate recently, a senior police official said.
After Friday prayers, members of one community started getting the shops closed and the other community protested over this. This led to clashes, followed by stone-pelting and brick batting. Sources said that the miscreants had also fired in the air.
Reportedly, six to seven people have been injured in stone-pelting when people from the minority community came out to shut the market down after Friday prayers.
Following the incident, 18 persons have been taken into custody.
ADG, Law and Order, Prashant Kumar said that the situation had been brought under control and additional forces had been deployed. He said that the reasons that led to the flare-up would be probed.
"Govt has taken it very seriously. Addl Police forces sent. Hooligans being identified, 18 arrested so far. We've video footage, we'll take action. Action under Gangster Act will be taken against conspirators & their property will be either seized or demolished," ANI quoted Kumar as saying.
"Some people tried to shut down shops. It was opposed by the other group. Clash broke out b/w them. Police reached there immediately & tried to control situation. Senior officers reached there right after & controlled the situation using force," he added.
He said that video footage was being scanned to identify the accused.
Incidentally, President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were in Kanpur Dehat, a neighbouring district around the same time when the clashes broke out.