At least three houses and some vehicles were set on fire as a procession to mark Ram Navami took a violent turn in Hazaribagh district’s Pandu village around 6.30 pm Friday. Police forces, including the SP, rushed to the village to bring the situation under control.
In a separate incident, at least two vehicles were torched and stone pelting was witnessed in Bokaro district but the situation was brought under control, police said.
Police sources said trouble erupted between two communities in Pandu village during the procession when some people objected to cars being parked along the route. “It was a minor issue which led to an argument and stone pelting. Security forces at the spot managed to control the situation. But some elements targeted houses deep inside the village. As per our information, three houses were set on fire, while a fourth was partially burnt,” said Jharkhand police spokesperson and ADGP (Operations) S N Pradhan.
In a statement issued later, Pradhan said, “The situation at both places is under control. The SP is camping there (in Hazaribagh). In Bokaro, in the absence of a regular DIG, another officer of the same level has been asked to camp in the area.” DIG, Hazaribagh, Upendra Prasad said, “The SP has reached the spot. The violence stopped after some time. We have information about houses and vehicles being burnt… The exact reason behind the incident will become clear in some time.”
In Bokaro, too, violence erupted in Siwandih. “The procession was going along its designated route when, around 6 pm, some unidentified elements began stone pelting. In the ensuing melee, miscreants set two vehicles on fire,” said DSP City Ajay Kumar.
Earlier in the day, Congress MLA from Barkagaon, Nirmala Devi, sat on a dharna, demanding action against the SDPO for allegedly using force against people Thursday evening. Police used force when a mob attacked the police station, pelting stones and damaging vehicles following an argument between a group and police over loud music being played during a procession to mark Maha Ashtami. Some people were injured as police tried to disperse the mob. “When the DSP asked people to reduce the number of equipment to play music, they began pelting stones. Later, people reached the police station and damaged four-five vehicles. We had to use force to disperse them,” said Hazaribagh SP Akhilesh Jha.