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Curfew relaxed in riot-hit Bhainsa

Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad | October 14, 2008 23:27 IST

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The situation in the riot-hit town of Bhainsa in Adilabad district bordering Maharashtra is limping back to normalcy, but with the re-imposition of curfew after a three-and-a-half hour relaxation on Tuesday, the town is wrapped in graveyard like silence.

With 1,000-odd policemen and personnel of Rapid Action Force carrying automatic weapons patrolling the streets and bylanes in the town of 50,000 population, people are staying indoors for the fifth consecutive day.

Curfew was imposed in the city on Friday after outbreak of communal violence during Durga procession. Groups of Hindu and Muslim communities clashed over the issue of throwing colour and raising provocative slogans outside Panjasahah mosque.

Four people were killed in the violence and police firing. The situation worsened after a Muslim family was burnt alive in nearby Vatoli village.

N Chandramouli, the deputy inspector general of police Karimnagar range, who is camping in Bhainsa, told the that curfew was for the first time lifted for three and hours on Tuesday to enable people to buy vegetables and other essential items.

"If the situation improves, we will lift day curfew on Wednesday," he said.

Twenty-four people were arrested in connection with the communal riot in Bhainsa in which more than 40 shops and several houses were looted and burnt by mobs. "Some more people will be arrested as we have identified the culprits," Chandramouli said.

"The situation has by and large improved in Bhainsa town. We have stepped up patrolling in villages. Ten people were arrested in connection with the burning of a kirana store in Tanur mandal," he said.

Attacks on mosques and businesses were also reported from other villages in Tanur mandal and Basar, famous for Saraswati temple on the banks of river Godavari.

Attention was also focused on Vatoli, 10 km away from Bhainsa, where six members of the family on Mahboob Khan was burnt in the wee hours of Sunday.

"The investigations are on and forensic experts are trying to find clues in the debris of the gutted house. Only after that will we reach some kind of conclusion," Chandramouli said.

Investigators found one leg of Mahboob Khan cut off and injuries on other bodies. "It could be related to the Bhainsa incidents," Chandramouli said.

Police had picked up three persons from the village to question about the incident. The police have taken note of the initial statement of two residents Kangaiah and Rao Patel of Vatoli who had said that Mahboob Khan himself had set his house on fire and left the village in a jeep.

Chandramouli said that no outsider could be involved in the burning of the family and it was handiwork of the local people.

After the Vatoli incident, the unknown miscreants tried to repeat a similar incident in Taroda village in Mudhole mandal where they had closed the door of a house from outside. But after the family raised an alarm and people guarding in the village during the night rushed to the place, the miscreants fled in the darkness.

In another incident in Kuber mandal bordering Maharashtra, the police arrested three people when they were brining thirty litres of petrol in an autorickshaw. They were coming from Himayat Nagar taluka of Maharashtra to Kuber mandal in Adilabad. The police said they were identified as Gangadhar, Digambar Potanna and Prameshwar Ganganna.

Four other accomplices managed to escape. The police said they were being questioned.

Meanwhile, the police strengthened the security in Karimnagar city on Tuesday after some miscreants burnt the religious flag of a community in the early hours. As the news of the incident in Azmathpura spread and a large number of people gathered to protest, the police swiftly replaced the burnt flag and placated the agitated people.

In view of the rising tension, additional forces were deployed in the sensitive areas of Karimnagar.

Meanwhile, prohibitory orders continue to be in place for the fifth day on Tuesday.

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