A clash erupted between AIMIM and BJP councillors of the Meerut Municipal Corporation at an oath-taking ceremony organised for them here on Friday. The scuffle began following a disagreement over the singing of 'Vande Mataram' to commence the event.
Trouble began during the ceremony at the Chaudhary Charan Singh University auditorium when councillors of the Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) refused to sing the national song.
Police personnel deployed at the venue intervened in the clash, separated the members of the two parties, and brought the situation under control. A case was later registered against several BJP members at the local Medical College police station.
At the ceremony, Harikant Ahluwalia was sworn in as mayor by the commissioner amid the noisy scenes and shouts of 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'. Ahluwalia then administered the oath to the newly elected councillors in batches of 15.
Speaking to news persons later, the AIMIM councilors accused the BJP of assaulting them. Ward 71 councilor Fazal Karim alleged that ward 75 corporator Reshma's husband Dilshad Saifi and ward 79 corporator Asif sustained injuries.
AIMIM metropolitan president Imran Ansari said all 11 corporators of the party would go to the local police station to get an FIR registered against the BJP workers.
Responding to queries about the incident, the BJP's former state unit president and Rajya Sabha MP Laxmikant Bajpai said, "Why this objection to singing 'Vande Mataram' mentioned in the Constitution of India when they take oath on the Constitution? There is no compulsion on singing it but at least stand up and be quiet when it is being sung." Bajpai also criticised the district administration, alleging that an employee who did not know the national song properly was selected to sing it. The BJP leader claimed this forced him to go and sing 'Vande Mataram' himself.
Meanwhile, the police case registered against the BJP leaders was based on a complaint lodged by Dilshad Saifi. SHO Yogendra Singh said BJP corporator Uttam Saini, and party leaders Rajiv Gupta, alias Kale, and Kavita Rahi were among nearly 15 people were mentioned in the FIR.
The case was registered under IPC sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 352 (punishment for assault or criminal force otherwise than on grave provocation) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), action will be taken after an investigation, the SHO said.
Earlier in the day, three of the 11 corporators of the AIMIM took the oath at the ceremony and the rest are expected to do so on Saturday, Ansari said.
After taking the oath, Ahluwalia said it is the everybody's responsibility to make the city tidy and beautiful.
While BJP Lok Sabha MP from Meerut Rajendra Aggarwal attended the function, no leader from the opposition took part in it.
The AIMIM has gained strength in the Meerut Municipal Corporation this time. As against 13 councillors of the Samajwadi Party, Owaisi's outfit has 11 corporators, all from the minority Muslim community.
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