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One killed in fresh Aligarh violence; toll 6
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | April 08, 2006 20:39 IST
After 24 hours of lull, violence erupted again in the curfew-bound north Indian town of Aligarh, leaving one dead on Saturday afternoon, thereby taking the toll on account of two-day-old communal clashes to six.
Even as more than 1,500 paramilitary personnel plus hundreds of local policemen patrolled the streets of the riot affected areas of the communally sensitive town, where shoot-at-sight orders were in force, two persons were shot at around 2 pm.
"They were rushed to the Aligarh Medical College for treatment, but one of them succumbed to his wounds a few hours later, while the other was struggling for life in the local medical college," Uttar Pradesh Principal Home Secretary Satish Kumar Agarwal told this scribe.
Another person who received a gunshot wound under similar circumstances in another locality on Friday afternoon, continued to remain in a critical condition in the medical college. That takes the figure of injured to 13, out of which two were serious.
"It was an isolated case of shooting on a lonely road, but by and large the city remained peaceful, despite being tense," Agarwal maintained.
"The best of administrative and police officers have been entrusted with the charge of Aligarh district, where adequate police force was also made available; recurrence of violenc was therefore a matter of serious concern for us," Agarwal said.
Zonal Inspector General of Police Rizwan Ahmad, who was camping in Aligarh said, "Earlier, we were planning to give some relaxartion in the curfew; however, now we have no option now but continue with the curfew and also keep in place the shoot-at-sight orders."
"Keeping in view the tense situation, we will intensify police patrolling at night, as we have to nip the violence at all costs," he told this scribe over telephone from Aligarh.
Meanwhile, in a late Friday night move, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav ordered suspension of six senior Aligarh officials including District Magistrate R K Singh and Senior Superintendent of Police Ajay Anand, both of whom had already been given marching orders earlier the same morning.
Saturday's renewed violence also provoked the suspension of two more police officials, who were found to have been lax in handling the situation.
Trouble had initially erupted over the question of prayers at a Hindu temple on the occasion of Ram Navami, marking the conclusion of the popular nine-day Navratra festival on Thursday.
Muslims of the locality were objecting to decoration and illumination that was undertaken on the previous night as also against use of loudspeakers for the ritual. They claimed that such a practice was a deviation from the routine prayers at the temple and that the issue was already a subject matter of a legal battle pending before a local court.
What sparked off with heated exchanges snowballed into a free-for-all with stones, rods, bamboos, knives and even guns being used freely from both sides. While two persons were killed on the first day, three succumbed to their injuries on Friday. And one was killed on Saturday.