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Uneasy calm in Vadodara after clashes

Police look for houses of Hindus, Muslims that stand singled out in communally-sensitive old city.

clash, vadodara clah, vadodara communal clash, vadodara stone pelting, vadodara news, ahmedabad news, india news Nargis Pathan points at the gallery where the mob tried to explode an LPG cylinder on Tuesday night. (Source: Express Photo by Bhupendra Rana)

Closed shops, armed policemen keeping a vigil and deserted streets — there was an uneasy calm in Vadodara’s old city Wednesday, after fresh incidents of stone-pelting and violence on Tuesday night.

The communally-sensitive walled city, which has been witnessing clashes since Sunday night when a Shiva idol was found damaged inside the Sarveshwar Mahadev temple, witnessed 34 people being rounded up on Tuesday night for “rioting” in Bhandwada locality where a mob tried to set afire the house belonging to a Muslim family. However, police reached in time to prevent the incident.

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On Wednesday, police went about identifying houses of Hindus as well as those belonging to Muslims that stand singled out in lanes dominated by the other community. This, police officials said, would help deter miscreants from taking advantage of the situation.

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DCP Zone I and IV, Leena Patil said, “We have decided to keep a watch on homes belonging to one community that gets singled out in lanes or areas dominated by the other. We will increase surveillance to track down those planning to attack these houses.”

At midnight Tuesday, when fresh violence erupted in Bhandwada locality of the walled city, the family members of Masoor Pathan — five women and three children, including a six-month-old — had a narrow escape when a mob doused their home with kerosene.

ACP Saurabh Singh and his team entered Pathan’s house and rescued the family members who had locked themselves in a room. Nargis Pathan, who later filed a police complaint in this connection, said: “If police had arrived five minutes late, we would have been burnt alive. The mob also damaged our washing machine and tried to burst an LPG cylinder in the gallery. Fortunately, it was empty. Now, we have decided to vacate our home for 40 years, and move to a rented accommodation.” The family alleged that their neighbours were in the mob. “They want us to leave this house as we are the only Muslim family in this lane. Although, we have had several arguments over this issue, we never expected they would do this to us,” she said.

ACP Singh said, “We had to enter the house from a common terrace. There was so much kerosene splashed in the house that we could barely walk. It was risky as any miscreant throwing in even one matchstick would have blown up the house.”

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Police said in many areas dominated by one community, the ongoing clashes were being used to settle personal scores.

 

First published on: 11-06-2015 at 03:08 IST
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