A curfew-like situation prevailed in Hansot taluka of Bharuch district in south Gujarat on Thursday, a day after communal riots claimed two lives. Shops in the main market area remained closed, also celebrated as “Vasi Uttarayan” across Gujarat. Stray incidents of violence were reported even as police claimed the situation was “under control”. The police restricted the use of WhatsApp and Internet to check rumour-mongering.
Commuters heading towards Hansot town were stopped by mobs from both communities on the state highway, who asked them about their religious identities. A group of 15-20 people halted The Indian Express team at Sunev village on Thursday.
On Wednesday, in the aftermath of a communal clash over kites in Ambheta village of Hansot taluka, two villagers were stabbed to death. On Thursday , a godown in Ambheta village belonging to Suleman Saiyed was set ablaze. A police team, along with a fire-fighter, controlled the fire and caught the accused. Police found the accused used to work with Saiyed and had been sacked.
Police and RAF personnel marched the streets in Hansot taluka as schools remained closed. Five FIRs have been lodged for rioting, two murders, arson and plunder and nearly 17 persons from both communities arrested.
Riots broke out Wednesday after a quarrel between a Muslim and Hindu youth from Ambheta village, five kilometres from Hansot village in the taluka by the same name, over catching a kite.
Mobs torched and looted shops and homes of Muslims in Ambheta. Youths from Hansot rushed Ambheta and soon after plunder and arson broke out in Hansot village. A field with ready crop was set ablaze.
Two men — Pratik Magan Patel (29) and Sandeep Chhana Patel (32) — of Hansot village, were stabbed to death on Wednesday. Seven others severely injured are undergoing treatment in private hospitals in Surat and Bharuch. Among the injured, the condition of two youths is critical.