As the violence-hit town of Khambhat in Anand district limped back to normalcy on Wednesday, four more FIRs were registered at the Khambhat town police station and over 3,000 people have been booked, including former BJP MLA Sanjay Patel and former BJP councilors, from the city.
“Apart from the four main FIRs filed on Sunday, we have registered four fresh FIRs. The first FIR is regarding unlawful assembly and arson after incidents of torching houses and vehicles were reported. The second is regarding violation of the notification under the purview of Gujarat Police Act against unlawful assembly and two more FIRs have been registered against members from both communities each for spreading rumours,” said Ajit Rajian, newly appointed Superintendent of Police, Anand, who took charge on Tuesday evening.
As per one of the FIRs, despite the police rejecting the application of the members of the Hindu community to gather and protest against the violence in the city, crowd in huge numbers gathered at the Gawara tower around 10 in the morning that included Patel and former councilor and district BJP chief, Pinakin Brahmbhatt, and members of the Hindu Jagran Manch.
The FIR by MH Chaudhary, police sub-inspector, Khambhat city police station, also states that at the spot, he found the above mentioned persons making provocative speeches following which they informed the higher authorities and immediately dispersed the crowd.
“Action was taken as soon as police reached the spot. The crowd violated the notification and as soon as the police reached there, they were asked to leave immediately and they complied with it. At the same time, police recieved information regarding violence in Mochiwada and a team was sent there,” said Bharti Pandaya, Deputy Superintendent of Police, who also took charge on Tuesday.
Another FIR pertains to arson and stone pelting reported in Mochiwada area of the town where two vehicles in a garage and a locked house were torched by the mob of around 400 people. The police also arrested three persons from the spot identified as Viral Patel, Jignesh Chunara and Ishwar Machi.
Since the first instance of violence on Sunday, following which four FIRs were registered, over 70 persons from both the communities have been arrested so far as the police continues combing in the areas. “Our patrolling continues across various localities. We have undertaken heavy combing and so far more than 70 persons have been arrested. As many as 10 teams have been formed who are identifying the accused and arresting them. It is a continuous process and the numbers will increase,” Rajian added.
Gujarat DGP, Shivanand Jha, who arrived in Khambhat on Tuedsay evening to take stock of situation also met delegations from both the communities. He assured the affected persons that those involved would be identified and strict action would be taken against them along with curbing any such further instance of violence.
“A delegation from both the communities met the DGP at the police station and he also met people on the way. He heard both sides and has assured that all responsible for the violence will be arrested and peace and normalcy will be ensured,” Rajian said.
One of the members who met Jha as a part of the delegation said, “We put forth our concerns over violence in front of senior police officials. They have assured that the police will cooperate with us and put the accused behind bars. We condemn violence from either side and we have been assured that situation will be normalised soon.”
The town reported its first incident of arson and stone pelting from Akhbarpura area of the city on Sunday. The violence soon spread over other areas and continued to swell on Monday and Tuesday. According to the police, more than 20 houses and as many vehicles were torched by the mobs from both the communities in separate incidents of violence and 13 people were injured. While the town witnessed a day-long bandh on Tuesday, many shops were opened and normal routines undertaken by the citizens on Wednesday.
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