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Riots break out in Maharashtra town, situation tense.

Byline: Shahid Raza Burney

PUNE: Police reinforcements of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) were rushed to Dhule district in Vidarbha region yesterday from here, after communal riots broke out yesterday afternoon, after a digital banner of a Hindu militant organization was torn down by people suspected to be from the minority community, a reference to Muslims.

The members of the Hindu and Muslim communities came face to face and engaged pitched battles after a digital banner of the so-called Hindu Defense Committee was alleged to have been torn in the central Panch Kandil locality in the city, according to police sources.

Curfew was imposed last evening as mobs from both communities continued to indulge in violence. Riots spread to various other parts of the city that include the localities of Natraj Theater, Agra Road, Devpur, Tiranga Chowk, Attesey Footi Road, and Kumbarwada.

According to the Dhule police, more than 35 people were injured in the riots, and 85 people have as of late last evening been detained.

The police fired several rounds in the air to disperse the crowd which was torching vehicles and shops. When the situation could not be controlled, police had to impose dusk-to-dawn curfew, said a senior police official.

In addition to reinforcements from the SRPF, more police forces were summoned from neighboring Nashik and Malegaon, to control the situation.

Mobs from both sides indulged in heavy stone pelting, which led to the small contingent of policemen run helter-skelter for cover. The mobs were also found to be hoodwinking the police and continuing in stone pelting at shops and establishments and causing heavy damage to it.

Media people were also not spared, and cameras of several newspaper journalists were snatched and broken into pieces by the angry mobs. Special Inspector General of Police Surya Pratap Gupta, who was camping in Malegaon, rushed to Dhule to take stock of the situation. At the time for filing this report, the situation in Dhule was reported to be tense but under control.

In another development, the president of the Mumbai unit of Raza Academy, Mohammed Saeed Noori, demanded that the Maharashtra government should make an in-depth inquiry into the recent bomb blast in Malegaon.

Speaking at a press conference in Malegaon on Saturday, Noori said that the police should not target Muslims, otherwise, he warned, the consequences will worst.

Noori condemned the attack on part of the police, saying it was most unfortunate. He said that the government should track down the real culprits and punish them severely. Innocent people should not be punished for the blasts, and their lives should not be ruined.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Oct 6, 2008
Words:451
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