Communal tension gripped Godhra town after an armed group of villagers,led by the sarpanch,killed a poultry farm owner at Sarangpura village,about 10 km from here. Two others were injured in the attack,which followed a dispute over the clearing of a road leading to the poultry farm.
The victim was identified as 32-year-old Ashraf bhai Yayman,who had started the poultry farm a year back along with his partner Maulvi Farid Dari. Yayman died on the spot after being attacked with sharp weapons around 7.30 pm on Tuesday,said eyewitnesses.
His partners brothers,Jamilbhai Dari and Noor Ahmed Dari,were injured and are undergoing treatment at a Vadodara hospital.
The victims are all Ghanchi Muslims from Godhra while Sarangpura is a predominantly Hindu village.
Police arrested all six accused who were named in the FIR,including sarpanch Arvindsinh Jadhav,after an extensive combing operation that lasted till Wednesday morning.
Everything was largely peaceful and there was no opposition to the poultry business from the villagers, said Ajabsinh Jadhav,the guard at the poultry farm. He said trouble started on Tuesday. Ashraf bhai came to the village in the afternoon and called in a JCB machine (earth digger) to clear the bushes that were blocking the approach road. Some local residents protested and damaged the machine, he said.
As the small group of people,including some women,were pelting stones at the machine,Yayman and his partners tried to intervene and settle the matter peacefully. That was when a huge mob turned up to attack them.
When contacted,Farid Dari said,I am not in a position to speak about the incident or what led to the provocation until my two brothers,who are hospitalised,are in a position to talk. As far as I understand,the poultry farm was far from village and could not have been the cause of dispute. He said he was not at the site when the incident took place.
Around 8,000 people participated in the funeral procession of Yayman at Godhra on Wednesday amidst heavy police arrangements.
Superintendent of Police S K Gadhvi said precautionary measures were taken and a police team deployed since Tuesday night to prevent any further incident.
Police said security in the village as well as Godhra town was tightened after more than 1,000 people gathered at the civil hospital where Yaymans body was brought Tuesday night. Though it was a clash between two groups over a land-related dispute and did not have any communal angle,we took all precautionary measures,looking at the sensitivity of Godhra and surrounding villages, Gadhvi said.