AHMEDABAD/RANCHI/BHOPAL: Two persons were killed and many others injured, including police personnel, as communal clashes marred Ram Navami processions in parts of the country, including Gujarat, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh on Sunday.
While one person was murdered in Khambhat in Anand district of Gujarat, the other casualty was in Lohardaga in Jharkhand.
Internet services have been suspended in Lohardaga town and prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC clamped on the entire district.
Sub-divisional Officer (SDO) Arbind Kumar Lal told PTI, "Eight persons have so far been arrested in this connection. They are being interrogated and will be send to jail soon."
According to district officials, clashes erupted between members of two communities near Hirhi village around 5.30 pm on Sunday after a group of miscreants pelted a Ram Navami procession with stones. Ten bikes and a pick-up van were set on fire during the violence, officials said.
It took district officials and the police at least an hour to bring the situation under control.
Lohardaga deputy commissioner (DC) Waghmare Prasad Krishna and superintendent of police R Ramkumar are monitoring the situation.
Heavy deployment of security forces have been ensured in sensitive areas of the district.
Lal said, "The situation is now under control. There is no disturbance anywhere."
"In a bid to prevent rumour-mongering, internet services have been suspended in the town area and section 144 CrPC imposed on the district. Internet services will resume once we are convinced that the dust has completely settled," he said.
Lal also said that three persons who sustained severe injuries in the clash are undergoing treatment at Ranchi's Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), and six others in local hospitals of Lohardaga.
"One person has succumbed to his head injury in the melee. The deceased has been identified as Mannan Ansari, 40, a resident of Chandwa. At least 12 others have also suffered mild to severe injuries," Lal added.
In Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone town, local authorities on Monday started bulldozing ‘illegal houses and properties’ of those prima facie found involved in the violence that left at least 27 people injured. The injured include three senior police officers, including Superintendent of Police Siddharth Choudhary who received a bullet injury in his leg.
In Jharkhand, a grievously wounded person succumbed to his injuries, said Lohardaga Deputy Commissioner Waghmare Prasad Krishna, adding the victim hailed from Latihar.
“To avoid any untoward incident, internet services have temporarily been blocked and Section 144 imposed,” he said.
Sources in Latehar identified the deceased as Aman Ansari of Boda village. According to his family members, Aman was returning from Lohardaga along with his nephew Mohammed Wasim on Sunday evening when a mob attacked them at Kujra village leaving both critically injured.
They were rushed to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi, where Aman succumbed to his injuries while Wasim is fighting for survival.
In Gujarat’s Khambhat, incidents of stone-throwing and arson were reported. In Himmatnagar in Sabarkhantha district, a 700-strong mob went on the rampage in Ashrafnagar town, Imamwada and Vanzara areas of the city. Complaints of damages to public property were filed against the attackers.
The incident took place in Vanzaravas area on Monday night, police said.
In some videos shared on social media, some people can be seen throwing petrol bombs on another locality.
According to Superintendent of Police Vishalkumar Vaghela, it was a minor flare-up and tear gas shells were also lobbed to disperse the mob.
"Upon learning about the clash, we rushed to the spot and took the situation under control. We have detained four people from the spot. The flare up was minor and the situation has been quickly brought under control" Vaghela told PTI.
Earlier on Sunday, Himmatnagar town witnessed violence, stone-pelting and clashes between two communities after stones were hurled on a Ram Navami procession.
To prevent such incidents, the district collector has imposed section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which prohibits gathering of more than 5 people, in some of the sensitive areas of the town, including Chhaparia area where arson and stone-pelting were reported on Sunday.
At least 10 bikes, three carts, one tempo, four cycles and several shops were set on fire, following which, people from the other side set two houses ablaze near Bhokta Garden in Lohardaga.
(With PTI Inputs)