Tension gripped Malerkotla, Punjab’s only Muslim-majority town, on Saturday after a night of arson and violence amid rumours that torn pages of the Quran were found in a cemetery.
The incident occurred after prayers on the third Friday of the holy month of Ramzan when a mob targeted the house of local Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Farzana Nissara Khatoon after damaging 12 cars, including four of the legislator, forcing the police to resort to firing.
Police sources said 100 rounds were fired to control the mob.
Farzana, 62, is the wife of former Punjab Police DGP (prisons) Mohammad Izhar Alam, who is also an Akali loyalist. Alam made Malerkotla his home in 2010 after retirement when he became the Punjab Wakf Board chairman. He would have got the SAD ticket but for Sikh hardliners who raked up his controversial tenure during the days of militancy.
Farzana won the 2012 assembly elections on the SAD ticket after a bitter battle with her Congress rival and two-time MLA Razia Sultana, 49, who is backed by her husband and IPS officer Mohammad Mustafa.
Malerkotla is 123 km from Chandigarh.
video: ABP Sanjha