One person was killed and three others, including a state homeguard, were seriously injured after communal violence broke out at Raver in Jalgaon district — located 414 km north of Mumbai — on Sunday over the gathering at a mosque during the Janata Curfew call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Violence first broke out at Maniar Mohalla where Muslims had gathered at a mosque in Maniar Mohalla for Shab-e-Mehraj prayers at 9.15 pm during Janata Curfew.
Due to the large gathering, some of those inside the mosque had spilled out on the streets. An argument ensued over the congregation being held during a time when people had been asked to stay indoors. Subsequently, stones were pelted at the congregation.
Local residents said that at the same time, electricity of the entire area was cut off, as both sides squared off against each other with brickbating in progress. They added that stones were thrown at another mosque, the Momin Ali Masjid, which led to the riot spreading in other parts of the city.
Yashwant Kashiram Marathe (55) was attacked in his house with sharp weapons and succumbed to his injuries on Monday morning. A 25-year-old youth, Javed Shaikh, was waylaid near Rasoolpura and assualted with a sword. Shaikh, who has been shifted to a hospital in Jalgaon, remains critical.
The police, meanwhile, had to fire in the air and later call reinforcements from Jalgaon to quell the fighting mob.
Curfew was subsequently imposed in Raver for 48 hours. Six cases have been registered and over 600 people booked.
Community leaders have claimed that the riot was pre-planned. “The attack on the mosques was pre-planned, as some people did not seem to be happy with people gathering at the mosques when other religious places were shut. This was an issue that could have been solved with the administration talking to the trustees of the mosques but throwing stones was wrong and inflamed the situation,” community leader Karim Salar said.
The district administration has said that it is making inquiries to check if the riot was pre-planned.
“The way electricity lines were disrupted, stones were stocked and fire bombs used, preliminary information suggests that the riot was pre-planned. We are undertaking a detailed inquiry and will act harshly against the perpetrators,” Jalgaon District Collector Dr Avinash Dhakne reportedly told the local media.
Raver a quaint little town in Jalgaon has seen 38 communal riots since Independence.
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