Violence erupted in the sensitive Panigate area of Vadodara’s old city early on Tuesday morning during protests against a demolition drive by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC). Residents of Sulemani Chawl settlement, the area that was set to be razed, set afire a SRP post, a police chowki, a city bus and as many as 10 two-wheelers. The arson lasted for a couple of hours until the police used force to disperse the crowd and allow the drive.
As many as 318 clustered homes in the sensitive Sulemani Chawl area were demolished as part of the VMC’s “Slum Free Vadodara” drive. The impending demolition had caused much tension in the area on Monday evening as officers arrived to serve the final notice to the residents and conduct a survey of the homes. Early on Tuesday morning, local miscreants caught the SRP by surprise, pelting stones and setting the post afire. A police chowki of Panigate police also came under attack as mob set afire the chowki and several private two-wheelers. The mob also damaged a city bus and set it ablaze. Police officers resorted to tear gas shells and lathicharged the mob. Out of 318 families, VMC officials verified the credentials of 218 families and allotted them homes in the BSUP housing scheme in Kapurai, a few kilometers away.
Commissioner of Police E Radhakrishana said, “The violence began much before the demolition started. We brought the situation under control to allow the VMC to do its work. There is no problem now. The miscreants will be identified and we will book them.”