Alleged stone-pelting on a Durga procession sparked riots in the communally sensitive Akot town in Akola district on Tuesday and Wednesday,resulting in the death of four persons and widespread destruction of property.
While three deaths occurred on Tuesday night,one took place on Wednesday. Five persons were injured. Over 17 houses,16 shops and ten vehicles were burnt in the arson that reportedly spilled over to Wednesday despite curfew.
Sub-Divisional Police Officer Narendra Tapre said,The shops were gutted in a fire caused by an electrical malfunction on Wednesday.
He said trouble began after stones were reportedly hurled at the procession around 7 pm on Tuesday.
The processionists started running as there was a rumour that a house in their part of the town had been burnt. The house had in fact caught fire due to an electrical malfunction. The two sides then started pelting stones at each other. We intervened and the procession continued till idol immersion was completed around midnight. The two sides,however,again came face to face on Wednesday morning and resumed stone-pelting. Curfew was imposed and the situation was brought under control.
Collector Parimal Singh told The Indian Express ,The riots broke out on Tuesday night when three persons were killed. The fourth death happened on Wednesday. All injured are stable.
Collector Singh,Inspector General of Police (Amravati Range) Bipin Bihari,Akola Superintendent of Police Virendra Mishra and a posse of over 500 police personnel,two companies of State Reserve Police and 70 Home Guards drawn from different parts of the district have been maintaining vigil.
Violent past and present
Akot and other towns and villages in Akola and adjoining Amravati district have a history of communal tension. Yogesh Mahadev Rekhate (25),Manohar Maroti Budhe (65),Mohd Yasin Mohd Idu and Abdul Jafar Abdul Karim (17) were killed in Tuesday-Wednesdays violence.