Saturday, March 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Cong MP’s nephew killed
Indefinite curfew in Ahmedabad areas

Ahmedabad, March 15
An indefinite curfew was re-imposed today in parts of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Bharuch and three other cities in the state as violence erupted following the religious programmes of the two communities, leaving at least one person dead and nine injured. The curfew was re-imposed this afternoon in the Shahpur, Karanj and Kalupur areas of Ahmedabad’s walled city, Raopura and Karelibagh police stations of Vadodara, B-Division area of Bharuch, Petlad town of Anand, Balasinor in Kheda and Lathi in Amreli district, mainly as a precautionary measure at most places, as armed groups pelted stones at each other despite tight security.

The police here said Mr Nitin Parmar, nephew of Congress MP Pravin Rashtrapal, was stabbed to death in the Shahpur locality while his father, Ganpat Parmar, was admitted to V.S. Hospital, Ahmedabad, for treatment of sword injuries.

Eight others were also hospitalised, four with stab injuries, one injured in private firing, and three women with burn injuries.

Six of them were injured in Shahpur and one each in the Karanj and Sarkhej areas.

In the Kalupur area, there were reports of police firing to disperse rioters and the use of private firearms during group clashes, but details were not available.

In the sensitive Manek Chowk area under Kalupur police station, armed groups, some of them carrying firearms, came close to attacking each other, but the heavy deployment of police and para-military forces proved a deterrent.

Reports from Vadodara and Bharuch districts said groups pelted stones at each other at many places but there was no casualty so far.

Trouble started when some participants in the VHP’s Ayodhya-related “pooja” programme burst crackers in the Shahpur area to which the other community members, returning from Friday prayers, objected, police control room sources said.

In the Naranpura locality, a local bus was torched by miscreants. Trouble was also reported in the Bapunagar area.

NEW DELHI: Nearly 20,000 persons, many of them VHP activists, trying to hold pujas and hold processions, the country today remained calm during the “shila daan” ceremony in Ayodhya.

About 10,000 persons were arrested across Maharashtra, 8,000 of them in Mumbai alone, where VHP activists performed pujas and held special prayers in 2,000 temples to mark the ‘shila daan” in Ayodhya.

VHP leader Giriraj Kishore and BJP MPs Brijbhushan and Chinamayanand were arrested near Lucknow when they headed for Ayodhya this morning.

Tension gripped Hyderabad briefly when a crowd coming out of a mosque after Friday prayer raised slogans but the police used force to disperse them.

In Kerala, special prayers were offered in mosques during the Friday ‘namaaz’ for communal harmony in the state.

The police arrested 29 VHP activists in the Haldibari area of West Bengal when they held a procession defying ban.

Hundreds of people were rounded up when they violated prohibitory orders and tried to hold “Ram jap yatra” in Rajasthan’s Tonk, Sikar and Jhunjhun districts, Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) A.K. Jain said.

The Friday prayers in the state passed off peacefully, he said.

In Indore, VHP activists performed shila-pujan at a temple in the Sukhlia locality in the presence of a large number of policemen and Rapid Action Force personnel.

But in neighbouring Dewas district, the police had to fire teargas shells to disperse ABVP activists trying to take out a rally violating prohibitory order. Twenty persons were arrested in this connection.

In Agra, 47 Bajrang Dal activists were taken into custody for trying to board an Ayodhya-bound train.

As many as 200 persons were arrested in Chhattisgarh where the day passed off peacefully. UNI, PTIBack

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