|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Fresh violence in Aligarh ; toll rises to 5
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | April 07, 2006 22:37 IST
Despite 'shoot-at-sight' orders in place, fresh violence erupted in Aligarh on Friday evening, leaving one person critically wounded by a gunshot in a curfew-bound locality.
Disclosing this, Uttar Pradesh principal home secretary S K Agarwal told reporters, "One person received a gunshot wound on a road in Sasni Gate area in Aligarh, around 5 pm. The victim was critically injured and has been hospitalised."
Meanwhile, with three persons having succumbed to their injuries on Friday, the toll on account of the communal clashes that broke out in Aligarh on Thursday, rose to five. In all, about 18 persons were stated to be hospitalised with injuries suffered in stone-pelting. "They are all stated to be out of danger," he added.
Over 1200 armed policemen, including about 300 personnel of the Rapid Action Force, were currently deployed to maintain a round-the-clock vigil in the riot-affected areas.
Meanwhile, of the100 rounded up in connected with the riots, some 30 persons were let off Friday while others were being interrogated.
Earlier in the day, holding the district magistrate and senior superintendent of police responsible for 'official lapses', Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav ordered their replacement by new incumbents who were flown by a special aircraft to take over the reins of administration in the riot-affected town.
"Bhuvnesh Kumar has been sent as the new district magistrate and Akhil Kumar as the new SSP of the district," an official spokesman told reporters here Friday. "Two other key officials have also been replaced to ensure better management of the situation, which apparently worsened because of their poor handling."
With replacement of key district and police officials, who were flown to Aligarh by a special state aircraft, the home secretary was hopeful of restoring order in the riot-hit town. "I am confident that the new district magistrate and the senior superintendent of police would soon be able to restore order in Aligarh", he said.
Trouble had initially erupted over the question of prayers at a Hindu temple on the occasion of Ram Navami, marking the conclusion of the nine-day Navratra festival on Thursday, police said.
The Muslims of the locality were objecting to extravagant decoration that was undertaken on the previous night and use of loud-speakers for the ritual . They claimed that such a practice was a deviation from the routine prayers at the temple.
With Hindus resisting that, an altercation ensued late Wednesday evening , but following intervention of local officials and senior citizens, things were settled.
However when Hindus put up the loudspeaker for the main Ram Navami rituals on Thursday, they were challenged by a group of Muslims, following which there was a free-for-all with stones, rods, bamboos, knives and even guns being used freely from both sides.