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 amid reports of stray incidents of violence involving the pilgrims.
As the kanwariya yatra began winding up today, a video surfaced showing a group of people, some of them apparently pilgrims, smashing a police vehicle in Bulandshahr yesterday.
There was trouble last year at Khelam village in Bareilly district, which falls on the kanwariya route.
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.
"We have deployed adequate force in the village to ensure normalcy and there was no law and order problem today," the SP said.
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.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)