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Five more BJP leaders including three corporators arrested for Amravati violence

Curfew relaxed for four hours from Wednesday

Written by Jayprakash S Naidu | Mumbai |
Updated: November 16, 2021 11:06:43 pm
On the role of Raza Academy, the official said that based on their probe of the 111 places where the protests were organized, only 45 were led by Raza Academy. (Express photo)

The Amravati City Police Tuesday arrested five more BJP leaders, including three sitting corporators, for Saturday’s violence in a bandh called by senior BJP leaders in Maharashtra in which several shops and vehicles were damaged and nine police officers injured.

The arrested accused have been identified as Jayant Dehankar, former BJP party president of Amravati city, Badal Kulkarni, a BJP leader, and three corportors, Pranit Soni, Lavina Harshe, a corporator from Namuna, and Sandhya Tikle, former mayor and now a corporator. The accused were produced before a magistrate court and subsequently granted bail.

Police said all the arrested accused were present at the bandh at Rajkamal Chowk. Four vehicles and two shops were gutted in the fire, glasses of several shops were shattered and nine police officers were injured in the violence.

Internet services were started for half an hour at 3.30 pm and suspended again at 4 pm. It is not clear why that happened, police sources said. A senior police official said internet will remain suspended.

The police allowed grocery shops to remain open between 2 pm and 4 pm but residents have been unable to buy vegetables for five days. As the fourth day of curfew saw no untoward incidents, the curfew relaxations have been increased to four hours from Wednesday but only for buying essential items like grocery, vegetables, medicines and pesticide.

Suresh Jain, president of Mahanagar Chamber, an umbrella organisation of local commercial associations, said, “Grocery and medicine shops were open for two hours but vegetables are still not available as the two-hour window in the curfew is not enough for retailers (vegetable vendors) to travel to buy vegetables from wholesalers and then return to local markets to sell them. Vegetable trucks are also not being allowed in. We had a meeting today with the Amravati district’s guardian minister, Yashomati Thakur, about giving people more time to buy essentials. She has extended the relaxations and now people can move out from 12 pm to 4 pm to buy essentials.”

“In the meeting, we also requested Thakur to lift the curfew and restore internet services as soon as possible. She called the police commissioner, municipal commissioner and collector and told us they intend to normalise things in the next few days if everything goes well,” he added.

A police officer from CP headquarters said, “Till now, a total of 188 accused have been arrested. For Friday’s violence, 91 have been arrested from both communities and 97 for Saturday’s violence from both communities. On Saturday night, some violence took place in the jurisdiction of Kholapuri gate police station and Nagpurigate police station.”

While people from both communities stay in the jurisdiction of Kholapuri gate police station, most of the population in the jurisdiction of Nagpurigate police station is from the minority community. Majority of the police bandobast is posted outside these areas.

On Monday, Dr Anil Bonde, former agriculture minister and mayor Chetan Gavande and BJP spokesperson Tushar Bhartiya were arrested and granted bail. Another former minister from BJP, Pravin Pote Patil, who encouraged people to join the dharna, is a wanted accused in the case.

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