Monday, April 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

13 killed, curfew in Gujarat areas
Communal flare-up in Gomtipur, Mehmdabad

Ahmedabad, April 21
In a sharp spurt in violence in Gujarat, at least 13 persons, including a woman and a policeman, were today killed and 96 injured with Ahmedabad bearing the brunt even as Defence Minister George Fernandes claimed improvement in the situation in the riot-torn state.

Nine of the 13 perished in police firing in labour-dominated Gomtipur, Bapunagar and Rakkhiyal localities of Ahmedabad and Mehmdabad and Kapadwanj towns of Kheda district, police sources here said.

The dead included a police constable. He was stabbed to death in Gomtipur police station area this afternoon by a group.

Two deaths were reported from Khera district last night. One each was killed in Kapadwanj and Mehmdabad areas of the district. However, the situation in these two areas was peaceful.

The violence in Ahmedabad was sparked-off when groups from two communities confronted each other in the streets and started setting establishments on fire and pelting stones. The police had to fire more than 200 warning shots and burst teargas canisters in Gomtipur, Bapunagar and Rakhial police station areas this afternoon to contain the clashes.

Four persons were killed when the police opened fire on rampaging mobs in Gomtipur where one person was stabbed to death and another perished in a petrol bomb attack, police sources said.

The Army was deployed and curfew re-imposed in Gomtipur which witnessed violence yesterday also.

One person was killed when the police fired on a violent mob that set ablaze houses and shops at Mehmdabad town in Kheda district late last night, the sources said.

Sixteen persons were injured in mob violence at Mehmdabad necessitating imposition of curfew in the town, the sources said.

Twentythree persons were injured, 13 in police firing, in labour-dominated Gomtipur and Kadi town in Mehsana district.

Violence spread to adjoining areas of Rakhial and Bapunagar police stations and the Army was deployed in disturbed localities, the sources said.

Some houses were set ablaze in Nagpurvora chawl in Gomtipur where 10 persons, including three women, were injured in clashes and two in police firing. The police resorted to firing and bursting of tear gas shells to scare away the rioters.

The police also burst tear gas shells and opened fire to contain violence in Kadi town injuring 11 persons, three of them seriously.

The trouble erupted when two groups of people pelted stones at each other.

Mehmdabad became the second town in the district where curfew was imposed yesterday. Earlier in the day curfew was clamped in Kapadwanj town after communal violence broke out over the construction of a wall of a locality. Meanwhile, an indefinite curfew was clamped in the Gomtipur area of the city today following violence in the labour-dominated localities with mobs setting ablaze houses forcing the police to open fire.

An indefinite curfew was clamped in Gomtipur at 2 pm and the Army called to help administration restore law and order, the police said. All top officials have rushed to the area to review and control the situation. PTIBack

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