The police appeared to justify the attack saying the car had hit the pilgrims and during an argument
A mob of kanwar pilgrims is seen chasing the police and smashing up their van in a mobile video filmed in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr. The video is one of many that have emerged in the past few days of vandalism by so-called pilgrims who stop at nothing and are apparently unafraid of the law.
In the footage that is in circulation, kanwar pilgrims are seen shouting at the police and attacking the van – an emergency 100 response vehicle – and then chasing them. The policemen, outnumbered, are seen reversing the vehicle and making a run for it.
Some of the kanwars film the scene on their mobiles. The incident reportedly took place in a bustling town, Bugrasi.
The unrestrained vandalism presents an extremely disturbing picture, alongside another video of a top police officer in Uttar Pradesh using an aerial survey to shower rose petals to “welcome” Kanwar pilgrims to the state. Along with the officer, Meerut Commissioner Anita Meshram and other senior officials also showered petals on them. The officer posted the video on Twitter, but removed it after a huge backlash.
When contacted, Prashant Kumar, the additional DGP of Meerut zone said the petal showering was not religious and were just a welcome gesture. He also said “such incidents” keep happening in festivals of all religions and thus it is wrong to give it a religious meaning.
On why he deleted the tweet the officer said, “No tweet has not been deleted, the tweet is real and administration is impartial.”
On Tuesday, a group of Kanwar pilgrims were on camera wrecking a car on a busy road in Delhi. They attacked the car with rods and tipped it sideways, simply because the driver had brushed past them.
The two inside the car, including the woman driver, ran to safety.
The police, shockingly, appeared to justify the attack saying the car had hit the pilgrims and during an argument, its driver had slapped a Kanwar.
The version has not been confirmed by witnesses. The kanwars enjoyed a free run as policemen in the area did nothing to stop them.
Many incidents of hooliganism and vandalism by Kanwar pilgrims have emerged with mobile videos posted online, calling for action.
Each year, thousands of devotees of Lord Shiva take up the kanwar pilgrimage, walking from their homes in various states to Haridwar, Gaumukh, Gangotri in Uttarakhand to fetch a pot filled with water from the river Ganga. The Ganga water is used as an offering to their local Shiva shrines on Maha Shivratri day.
Over the past few days of the pilgrimage, commuters on roads have complained of huge traffic disruptions by the Kanwars, who are seen walking in large groups or riding in trucks, ignoring all traffic rules.