AHMEDABAD: In view of frequent communal clashes in Khambhat in Anand district, the BJP government in Gujarat has blamed local "demographic changes" for such incidents and decided to impose the Disturbed Areas Act in some parts of the town which is aimed at preventing distress sale of properties in communally-sensitive areas.
The town has been on the boil since February 23 when clashes broke out between two communities.
"Such clashes are happening because of demographic changes. As demanded by the people of Khambhat, the government has decided to start the process of imposing the Disturbed Areas Act in areas where such incidents are happening regularly."
"We have taken this decision to stop further changes in the local demography," Gujarat Minister of State for Home, Pradeepsinh Jadeja told reporters in Gandhinagar on Tuesday.
The Gujarat Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Property and the Provision for Protection of Tenants from Eviction from Premises in Disturbed Areas Act, 1991, commonly referred to as the Disturbed Areas Act, is aimed at preventing distress sale of properties in communally-sensitive areas.
Under this Act, the permission of district collector is mandatory for the sale or transfer of property in the areas notified as 'disturbed' to ensure that the sale was not out of any distress or compulsion and to see that the seller had received a fair price.
The said Act is currently in force in parts of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Bharuch, Kapadvanj, Anand and Godhra towns.
Khambhat has the history of communal clashes, with the latest such incident reported in January this year, also from Akbarpur area as was the case on Sunday.
On the third consecutive day on Tuesday, incidents of arson and stone-pelting were reported from the town even as a bandh was observed by some Hindu community groups.
Earlier in the day, a mob set fire to two roadside wooden cabins and some motorcycles after staging a protest at Gavara Chowk.
Police have arrested 47 persons since Sunday for their alleged role in the violence, Jadeja said.
He said "anti-social elements" were involved in the incidents of arson and stone-pelting in areas like Akbarpura, Lal Darwaja and Bhavsar Colony.
"Some people are trying to disturb the peaceful atmosphere of Khambhat. Till now, we have lodged four FIRs and arrested 47 persons," the minister said.
Meanwhile, the government has appointed Ahmedabad Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Ajit Rajian as the new superintendent of police of Anand district, as the incumbent SP Makrand Chauhan is on leave, Jadeja said When asked about the measures being taken to mitigate tension in Khambhat, Jadeja said an Additional DGP and two IGs are camping in the town.
"We will not spare the culprits," he added.
Incidents of arson and stone-pelting were reported from Akbarpur area on Sunday.
Violence spilled over on Monday as well with fresh incidents of stone-pelting and attack on police personnel reported.
According to police officials, more than 20 houses and as many vehicles were torched by mobs since Sunday in separate incidents of violence.
Jadeja said those people arrested in the January clash and since been out of jails were behind the Sunday violence.