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Curfew in MP town after worshippers-cops clash
February 03, 2006 13:40 IST
Last Updated: February 03, 2006 15:52 IST
Indefinite curfew was imposed on Friday in Dhar, following lathicharge on a violent crowd of devotees in the controversial Bhojshala shrine, where Hindus and Muslims were to offer prayers according to a schedule.
The curfew was imposed to prevent flare up of sentiments among the large crowd of devotees celebrating Basant Panchami in the Bhojshala, a protected archaeological monument, claimed as a religious place by both the communities, district collector R K Gupta told PTI.
Under an agreement, Friday namaz was offered by Muslims at a makeshift arrangement made on the structure's roof, official sources said.
The commotion started in the Lakkadpeetha area behind the controversial structure, where around 300-400 Muslims were heading towards the complex for offering namaz during the stipulated period of 1 pm to 3 pm and were stopped by devotees participating in the Basant Panchami festivities, Gupta said.
Police resorted to lathicharge and cleared the Bhojshala, he said, adding while most of the people have reached their homes after the curfew was announced, those on the streets were being escorted out.
A group of around 15 members of minority community entered the complex and offered Friday namaz atop the Bhojshala, where special tents were erected as a makeshift arrangement after security personnel gained control in and around the historic structure.
The original 'Vageshwari' idol, installed during the rule of Raja Bhoj in the 11th century, is presently in the British Museum in London.
Amid controversy, the Archaeological Survey of India, which had taken over Bhojshala, had permitted Hindus to perform pooja on every Tuesday besides a havan on Basant Panchami, while Muslims were permitted to offer Friday prayers at the Kamal Moula masjid. The temple and masjid are located less than 50 feet away.