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109 arrested for Navi Mumbai riots
Tribune News Service & PTI

Mumbai, March 19
The Navi Mumbai police has arrested 109 persons on charges of rioting, the police said here today. While Navi Mumbai returned to normal, the police was carrying out round-up operations to seize crude weapons used to carry out violence.

Though curfew has been partially lifted in parts, the authorities are preventing large-scale movement of people to stop the entry of trouble makers in Ghansoli and Khoparkhairane areas, which have seen violence in the past three days.

Police control room said curfew was relaxed for four hours today though night curfew will continue for some more days in parts of Vashi, Nerul, Jui Nagar and Turbhe.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil met representatives of Agri community and “mathadi” workers who were rioting in the past few days.

The two groups are reported to have assured the government that they will ask members of their communities to stop all violent activities, sources said. The state government is likely to convene another round of meeting to sort out problems amongst the two communities, they said.

The villagers, whose land was acquired by the government to set up the Navi Mumbai township, some 60 km from here, have been clashing with the "mathadi" workers, (who are treated outsiders) for depriving employment opportunities to the locals.

The trouble started with the alleged molestation of a girl from Ghansoli village by “mathadi” workers on the day of Holi, following which the villagers clashed with the workers, killing one person. Two more persons died after the police opened fire to disperse the rioting groups.

The riots spread to other villages in Navi Mumbai in past three days, but Koparkhairane and Nerul village witnessed a surge of violence yesterday. An angry mob reportedly tried to damage the house of Maharashtra Excise Minister, Ganesh Naik at Bankawade village, leading to a cane charge and bursting of teargas shells.

Since then curfew has been imposed in Koparkhairane, Bankawade and other adjoining localities. Eyewitnesses told PTI from Koparkhairane that a heavy police presence is seen in the localities where curfew has been imposed, and police is not allowing residents to venture out of their houses.

Meanwhile, Home Minister R.R. Patil yesterday said that the government would not hold a magisterial inquiry into the firing incident. Instead, the Revenue Commissioner of Konkan Region would probe into the matter and submit a report shortly, he said.

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