The incident occurred during a bandh (shutdown) called by a saffron body against Friday’s stone-pelting incidents in Amravati city during rallies held by Muslim organisations in protest against the Tripura communal violence.
Hundreds of people, many of them holding saffron flags in their hands and raising slogans, came out on streets in Rajkamal Chowk area of this east Maharashtra city, located around 670 km from the state capital, in the morning.
A curfew has been imposed in Amravati city following further incidents of violence on Saturday morning when a huge mob of hundreds went on a rampage, destroying shops and private property, while the local police, greatly outnumbered, failed to stop them despite a lathi charge. The Maharashtra Police later dispatched four companies of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) and another 125 police personnel to rein in the mob.
In Amravati, Nanded and Malegaon there were some people from the minority community who took out a rally without due police permission to protest against the reported violence in Tripura against members of the minority community. Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil had on Friday promised stern action against those indulging in violence and the state BJP had called for a bandh in Amravati till 4 pm Saturday to mark their protest against the violence.
Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis said the rallies in Maharashtra to protest against the Tripura incident seem to be a well-orchestrated plot to provoke communal clashes, adding that it is unfortunate and does not augur well for the state. “It is my ardent appeal to people from both the communities to maintain peace. Nobody should indulge in any violence,” he said.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, “The Raza Academy is not strong enough to arrange such violence and manpower has been provided to them for it. We will arrest and unmask them; the real mobsters are different. They (Opposition) are the biggest enemies of Maharashtra. People are watching and they know who is behind the violence.”
Devendra Fadnavis urged the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to initiate measures to restore communal harmony. He also demanded stern action against the ruling parties’ elected members and warned people who shared the dais with those protesting and making provocative speeches.
Authorities in Maharashtra’s Amravati city imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure after stone-pelting incidents during protests against the recent communal violence in Tripura. the district’s guardian minister Yashomati Thakur told the media.
Under the provision, district authorities imposed a curfew in the city for four days. People will not be allowed to come out of their homes unless there is a medical emergency and gatherings of more than five persons have been banned. Internet services will also remain suspended in the city for three days to stop the spread of rumours, the police said.