Saturday, March 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Gujarat tense; 10 hurt in Muharram violence

Vadodara, March 14
At least 10 persons were injured as violence broke out in several sensitive areas of this riot-hit city during processions on Muharram today.

The Police lobbed teargas shells and fired six rounds after rampaging mobs belonging to both communities indulged in rioting and violence.

The trouble reportedly started when stones were pelted on a ‘Tazia’ procession heading for Sarasia Talab for immersion.

Irate mobs pelted stones at each other besides torching two two-wheelers and a truck in the area. State Reserve Police (SRP) personnel opened fire to disperse the mob. Though 10 persons, including two policemen, were injured in stone-throwing, no one was hit with police bullets, sources said.

No arrest has been made in this connection.

Soon after the news spread, members of both communities took to the streets at Rajpurani pole, Fatehpura, Ranavas, Bhutrizampa and Madvi, mostly located in the walled-city area, and fought pitched battles throwing stones, acid bulbs and glass bottles at one another.

Following the incident, the authorities cancelled the immersion of Tazias at the Talab by imposing prohibitory orders.

Top police officials claimed the situation was tense in several sensitive areas of the city, but was under control. Additional SRP and RAF personnel have been deployed in all vulnerable areas.

AHMEDABAD: Tension gripped the communally-sensitive Shahpur area of the city when mobs resorted to stonethrowing after a petty scuffle during the Tazia procession.

Trouble arose in Bhilwas locality of the area which got overcrowded during the procession, resulting in altercations between people of both communities, followed by some “minor” stonethrowing incidents.

However, the police reached the site immediately and controlled the situation.

Security personnel in Ayodhya were put on high alert in the wake of the Mumbai train blast and Muharram even as excavation at the disputed site remained suspended on account of public holiday today.

Personnel of the CRPF, PAC and Uttar Pradesh police maintained strict vigil in the temple town and adjoining Faizabad to prevent any untoward incident, particularly during Muharram processions. “The situation is normal both in Faizabad and Ayodhya. There has been no additional deployment of any forces. Our motto is to provide security while being unobtrusive,” Divisional Commissioner Faizabad R.M. Srivastava said.

Darshan at the makeshift temple continued unhindered.

Meanwhile, after two days of excavation to ascertain whether a temple existed beneath the demolished structure as per the order of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, work remained suspended on account of Muharram today.

Mr Srivastava said work would remain suspended on March 19 also on account of Holi. “We have to provide a weekly off to labourers engaged in the excavation. We propose to do it on a rotation basis so that Sundays are also utilised with a view to completing the task within a month as directed by the court,” he said. PTI

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