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One dead as Shia protest in Lucknow turns violent, cleric blames Azam Khan

One person died and several others were injured when a protest by members of Shia community headed towards the house of Uttar Pradesh Waqf Minister Mohd Azam Khan turned violent on Friday.

The protesters were lathicharged by police as they were marching to gherao Azam Khan’s house over the alleged move to appoint “corrupt persons” to the Shia Central Board in the state.

After ‘Alvida Namaz’, a procession, led by prominent Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, was taken out here to gherao Azam’s residence, but police put up barricades near Shaheed Smarak to stop them.

When the protesters attempted to force their way and march ahead, they were lathicharged by police.

Reacting strongly to the police action, Maulana Jawwad said the procession was being taken out peacefully, but “on the directive of Azam, police lathicharged people observing roza (fast) in which several persons, including elderly and children were injured”.

“But we will keep protesting against Azam Khan and Akhilesh Yadav and the lawlessness. We will court arrest in protest,” added Jawwad.

The Maulana alleged that the election of Shia Central Waqf Board are scheduled soon and Azam intends to appoint people who intend to loot Waqf properties, to important posts.

Later, agitated with police action, the cleric sat on dharna in front of Shaheed Smarak, demanding that he should either be allowed to move ahead to Azam’s house or be arrested.

Maulana Jawwad said SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav considered Azam as a big leader of Muslims, but in reality, the debacle the party faced in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections was due to the minister.

He also said that the party would not have won the five seats it got if the election commission had not banned Azam during the polls.

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