July 12, 2009 1:16:52 am
Four persons were killed,including two in police firing,as communal clashes broke out on Friday at a village in Beldanga in Murshidabad district.
The death toll is likely to go up as several people were missing after the clash and about 15 houses and 20 shops were set on fire by rampaging mobs. Curfew has been imposed in the area.
A deputy superintendent of police was also seriously injured in the incident.
Murshidabad District Magistrate Perwez Ahmed Siddiqui on Saturday said the situation,though tense,was under control.
The incident has put the police in a spot as Murshidabad district includes Jangipur,the home constituency of Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee who is scheduled to visit his constituency on Sunday.
According to district administration sources,the clashes erupted on Friday evening and continued till the early hours of Saturday in at least three adjoining villages under Nowda police station. Police had to resort to firing and lob teargas shells to quell the disturbance. Two companies of BSF have been called to enforce law and order.
Tension has been brewing in Jhaubona high school in Beldanga between Hindus and Muslims over holding of namaz and Saraswati puja on the premises. About a year ago,Muslim students objected to Saraswati puja being held in the school and it had to be abandoned. Similarly,a long-standing demand from the Muslim community to allow students to hold namaz on the school premises was being blocked by Hindus.
On Friday,at around 1 pm,when some Muslim students were reportedly trying to offer Friday prayers in the school,Hindu students objected and a scuffle ensued. People from both the communities soon rushed to the spot and it soon snowballed into a major showdown between the two communities. Violent mobs form both sides started setting houses ablaze. A mob moved to Trimohini market nearby and attacked houses.
A contingent of police rushed to the spot and tried to control the violence but failed. The violence soon spread to adjoining villages,including Chaitanyapur,Begunbari,Kazishau and Dudhsau. Both groups fought each other with guns,crude bombs and daggers.
According to police,they had to resort to firing a couple of rounds at Trimohini market,which claimed the lives of Khursheed Alam and Atarul Sheikh,both locals. Later,the body of one Madhab Mondol was recovered from near his residence in Jhaubona school. Another person,Najibur Sheikh,also a Jhaubona resident,who was injured in the clash died at Berhampur hospital on Saturday.
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