"The situation worsened in no time, and both sides pelted stones at each other. Police said blanks were also fired. "
Lucknow, June 21 - The Uttar Pradesh capital was calm Saturday, two days after sectarian clashes took place after a prayer meeting over Iraq, officials said.

Both the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and the Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been deployed in the old city area after the clashes between Shia and Sunni groups over the Iraq issue.

Amid heavy deployment of police, shops opened Saturday and people went out to attend to their daily chores.

Condemning the clashes that took place in Old Lucknow late Thursday, both Shia and Sunni clerics appealed to the masses to keep calm and act wisely.

The onus in on all groups and sects in the community to stay united and not allow others to take advantage of any differences, Sunni cleric Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali told IANS.

Slamming the violence, Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Sadiq said: It is sad that young men from both sides reacted in such a way without either knowing the whole issue in Iraq or realising what their follies can lead to.

In a message, Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad, who is currently in Iran, exhorted people to stay calm and not to be swayed away by violence in Iraq.

The need of the hour is to stay united and not to be carried away by tensions in Iraq, he told his followers.

The clashes erupted between the two groups in Sadatganj when a group protesting the killings of innocent people in Iraq was shouted down by members of another sect.

The situation worsened in no time, and both sides pelted stones at each other. Police said blanks were also fired.

A man was seriously wounded in the violence and was taken to a hospital, police said.


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