As many as 17 people were booked and a police inspector was transferred on Monday after a clash previous night between two groups belonging to different communities in the communally-sensitive old city area of Vadodara during the ongoing Navratri celebrations and Muharram rituals.
Commissioner of Police E Radhakrishana transferred inspector B M Nakum of City Police Station and also ordered a departmental inquiry against him for allegedly being “complacent” in his duties at the time of Navratri celebrations and Muharram rituals.
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According to police, stone pelting ensued after a brick was allegedly hurled at a tazia procession undertaken near Koyali Faliya area of Fatehpura in the walled city. Soon, groups belonging to two different communities attacked each other.
Several teams of police rushed to the site to control the situation. “The incident took place around 10:30pm (Sunday) when a tazia procession was passing close to a Hindu neighbourhood. Locals claim that a miscreant hurled a brick at the procession and the misunderstanding led to a clash. However, due to a prompt police action and heavy rain simultaneously, the crowds dispersed and the situation was brought under control,” a senior official said.
The city police chief said 18 tear gas shells were lobbed to disperse the mobs. “The incident occurred because the tazia procession, which had permission to proceed via Mandvi main road, took interior roads. Loud music was also being played in the procession, which is prohibited in the sensitive area. There was no injury reported to any one as police had arrived in time,” said Radhakrishana.
“We have rounded up 17 people, including the organisers of the tazia, who have been seen and identified in the CCTV footage for being part of the clash,” he said.
Radhakrishana said that police would continue to allow tazias in the area, and a contingency plan for the walled city has been put into action.
“We have three companies of SRPF in that area. One reserve company is available at Mandvi Gate and now, we have also deployed another reserve at Fatehpura chowky. We also found that the City Police inspector — in whose jurisdiction the clash occurred — was complacent and has not taken sufficient action… he was not present at such a sensitive time. We have transferred him immediately and set up an inquiry into his inaction,” he added.