Two die in Aurangabad after a row over illegal water connection turns into a communal riot

Two people died and several were injured with many vehicles and shops burnt down after a communal riot broke out in Aurangabad city of Maharashtra on Friday night. 

Published: 12th May 2018 11:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th May 2018 08:15 PM   |  A+A-

Rioters hurl stones and sticks during a communal riot that escalated due to clamping illegal water connection in a religious place in Moti Karanja area of Aurangabad on Friday. | PTI

By Express News Service

MUMBAI: Two people died and several were injured with many vehicles and shops burnt down after a communal riot broke out in Aurangabad city of Maharashtra on Friday night. 

Prohibitory orders were imposed in the city throughout Saturday when no violent incident was reported. 

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also handles the Home portfolio, said that the situation is under control and efforts have been undertaken to bring people from different communities together and restore peace.

"The situation in Aurangabad is well under control. Additional forces were moved in from neighbouring towns like Jalna and more forces were deployed since morning," Fadnavis told reporters in Pune.

"The peace has been restored and the police is acting tough against the people who started the riots," Fadnavis added and also appealed people not to believe in rumours.

However, the opposition Congress and NCP have targetted Fadnavis over the riots and demanded that he should resign as home minister.

"This is intelligence failure and the government needs to conduct a judicial inquiry into the riots," NCP leader Dhananjay Munde said, while the leader of opposition in state legsilature Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said that the state needs a full-time home minister to handle worsening law and order situation and hance Fadnavis should resign from the post.

Local parliamentarian and Shiv Sena leader Chandrakant Khaire too targetted Fadnavis. Why no police protection was provided to Municipal Corporation officials who went to clamp down the illegal water conncetion, he asked.

The riots started from the Moti Karanja area of Aurangabad took lives of two people. The polce had to resort to firing to control the clashing mobs. While a 17 year old boy died in the riots, an elderly man died in blast of a cooking gas cylinder in his shop which was attacked by rioters, the police have said.

Rioters hurled petrol bombs in several places across the city causing big fires. More than 100 shops were vandalised and burnt down, while equal number of vehicles too have been destroyed, local sources have said.

At least 51 people including 10 police officials were injured in the riots. Several burnt vehicles were in the Moti Karanja area of the city.

According to sources, a petty row over clamping illegal water connection in a religious place in Moti Karanja area escalated into a communal riot. Aurangabad Municipal Corporation that started action against illegal water connections clamped down one such connection in a place of worship on Thursday. Group agitated due to the action started demanding similar action against similar water connection at the place of worship of the other religious group which led to a clash between the two groups on Friday.

Several versions of the reason behind the riots too were doing rounds since last night. However, police have blamed the rumours spread over social media for escalating tension and riots in the city.

Mobs wielding swords, sticks, and stones clashed and vandalised shops. They also attacked the police. Ten police officials including assistant police commissioner Gowardhan Kolekar and police inspector Shripad Paropkari were injured in the attack. Police the resorted to teargas and firing in the air. When the mob remained undeterred the police resorted to firing wherein one youth died.

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