Two persons, including a minor, were killed and over 30 injured as communal clashes broke out in different areas of Aurangabad city on Friday night, and continued till Saturday afternoon.
Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), Maharashtra Police, Bipin Bihari, confirmed that the minor was hit by pellets fired by the police to rein in the crowd. The second victim died after the roof of his house, on which a petrol bomb was hurled, collapsed, police said.
Fifteen policemen, including three officers, were among those injured.
“A minor argument broke out between members of the two communities in Gandhinagar area of Aurangabad after a local fruit vendor refused to give free mangoes to some people who were reportedly drunk. An altercation ensued and a scuffle broke out. Many of the local shopkeepers then downed their shutters. The tension, coupled with rumours, led to some stone pelting in the adjoining areas of Motikaranja, Raja Bazar, Shahgunj, Chelipura, Anguribagh,” said a senior Maharashtra Police officer who did not want to be named.
The police had to call in more personnel and lob teargas shells to rein in the mob, said sources. Curfew was imposed in some parts of the city, and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was also invoked. As a precautionary measure, Internet services were suspended.
During the night, several incidents of stone pelting and arson were reported. Until Saturday afternoon, over 100 vehicles had been torched. Some shops in Shahgunj and Chelipura areas had also been set on fire.
“Three cases of damage to property have been registered and we are in the process of assessing the damage and registering fresh FIRs. While the situation has been brought under control, curfew has been imposed and will continue,” said Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), Maharashtra Police, Bipin Bihari.
“I would like to appeal to the people of Aurangabad to remain peaceful and not take the law in their hands,” said Aurangabad Acting Police Commissioner Milind Bharambe.