Six people were killed as police opened fire to break up a rampaging mob denouncing the desecration of a holy book, police and witnesses said Saturday.
The violence erupted around 7 p.m. Friday in Masuri area of Ghaziabad district adjoining Delhi.
The dead were identified by authorities as Asif, Waheed, Luckman, Amir, Wasim and Hayat. Two of them belonged to Meerut.
Three policemen were also critically injured in the violence. One of them almost had his head severed with a sharp-edged weapon.
According to Divisional Commissioner Mratyunjaya Narain, some “anti-social elements” in the mob started the violence after hundreds marched to the police station to complain against the desecration.
Even as the community leaders and police were discussing the modalities of the complaint, a section of the crowd went on the rampage, burning vehicles parked in the police station, police said.
Some people also fired at policemen, burnt the police barracks and mess, and moved towards the police residential premises.
The police then restored to firing.
Hundreds also blocked traffic on National Highway 24, burnt some private and public vehicles, and allegedly molested some women passengers.
The situation came under control only around midnight Friday, when police found bodies of the six victims.
The Uttar Pradesh government has announced Rs.500,000 to the families of each of the dead.
An ex-gratia of Rs.50,000 and Rs.100,000 were also announced for families of the injured.