Indefinite curfew was imposed in Maharashtra’s Amravati city on Saturday after internet services were snapped for three days due to violence during the bandh allegedly called by the BJP. The mob, who managed to overcome the police, damaged shops and property in areas like Rajkamal Chowk and Gandhi Chowk, where the violence first broke out.
Supporters of the BJP and other right-wing organizations were marching across the state on Friday against stone-pelting at rallies organized by Muslim organizations to protest against the communal violence in Tripura.
On Saturday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that reports on social media of the demolition of a mosque in Tripura were “fake” and “absolutely misrepresentation of facts”. It also said that the reports of violence from Maharashtra were “very worrying”.
Police Commissioner Arti Singh said internet services have been suspended to stop the spread of rumours, which could lead to more violence. Singh said the curfew imposed earlier on Saturday will remain in force for four days.
Hundreds of people took to the streets with saffron flags in their hands and shouting slogans in the Rajkamal Chowk area of Amravati, about 670 km from Mumbai. Singh said the mob pelted stones at shops and other places, with the police lathi-charging the protesters to bring the situation under control.
Additional Commissioner of Police Sandeep Patil said that Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed in the city to avoid any untoward incident. Except for medical emergencies, people are not allowed to step out of their homes. As per the order, not more than five people are allowed to gather.
On Friday, there were reports of people pelting stones during rallies taken out by Muslim organizations to protest the incidents in Amaravati, Nanded, Malegaon, Washim and Yavatmal in Tripura.
The police have so far arrested 20 people and detained four others by registering 20 FIRs on various charges, including rioting, in connection with Friday’s incidents. In Amaravati, over 8,000 people gathered outside the district collector’s office on Friday to submit a memorandum demanding that atrocities against the minority community in Tripura be stopped.
When people were leaving after handing over the memorandum, stones were pelted at three places between Chitra Chowk and Cotton Bazar of Kotwali police station area. Meanwhile, in a veiled attack on the opposition BJP, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Saturday said the violence in Amaravati and other places was aimed at destabilizing the MVA government.
Talking to reporters in Aurangabad, Raut said that the state government is in the saddle and the real faces of the perpetrators of the violence will be revealed soon. “Raising the spirit of violence, they (opposition) will meet the state governor and write to the Union home ministry claiming that the (law and order) situation in Maharashtra is deteriorating. This will happen in future also. But the state government is firm in the saddle,” Raut said.
Amravati district guardian minister Yashomati Thakur said that some anti-social elements are trying to spoil the atmosphere by pelting stones at shops. “The state government will take necessary action. However, some people are using it for political gains.” He appealed to the people not to believe in rumours.
AIMIM MP Imtiaz Jalil has also condemned the violence in Amravati. “I want to ask the leaders of the state who came to power with the vote of Muslims, why did they not condemn the violence in Tripura,” he said. If this violence in Maharashtra is ‘tit for tit’ by any political party, then it is an example of irresponsibility.”
Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis said it was wrong to hold rallies in the state for an incident that “never happened” in Tripura and appealed to the people to exercise restraint. The Tripura government and the local police have clarified that no religious place belonging to the minority community was burnt. Down. He has also released pictures of the same. I appeal to both the communities to exercise restraint, the former chief minister told reporters in Mumbai.
The senior BJP leader also said that political parties in the state government should not make provocative statements.