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Riots continue to rock areas outside Gujarat
By Danish A Khan

The fires of the post-Godhra carnage in Gujarat still continue to smoulder. Several parts of the Indian nation have been engulfed in the Gujarat fire. Reports of communal riots keep on emanating with each passing day. Parts of several states of the country such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Punjab and Karnataka have been overtaken by communal madness and frenzy. The incidents taking place have been horrendous and heart-rending.

The murder of a 17-year-old boy in Mhow town in the State of Uttar Pradesh on 19 April night led to the outbreak of communal violence. People from Hindu and Muslim communities clashed with each other and indulged in brickbatting. Properties were also set on fire, reports said. Incidents of violence and arson prompted the district authorities to impose curfew in the trouble-torn town. Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel were also deployed in strength to curb the violence. While talking to the media persons, Inspector General of Police B. M. Kannur said that so far 150 persons have been arrested by the police for violating the curfew. The situation is now under control, he said.

Cases of eve-teasing and misbehaviour with young girls at Bhopal in the central Indian State of Madhya Pradesh led to communal tension between the two communities. The incident took place on the night of 19 April. Even as the news of misbehaviour with young girls spread, Hindus and Muslims took to streets and clashed with each other. The violence left at least four people grievously injured. Superintendent of Police A. P. Singh said that 12 persons have been arrested. Besides, additional police forces have been deployed at sensitive spots and the situation was being continuously monitored.

Stray incidents of violence have been reported from the State of Rajasthan too. In Banas Badanpura locality of Jaipur district in Rajasthan a person was done to death. The killing which took place on 14 April night resulted in communal tension in the area. There were reports of stone pelting and group clashes between the people of Hindu and Muslim communities. The district authorities, however, said that the situation had been carefully handled and was under control.

Communal riots were also reported from the communally-sensitive western Indian State of Maharashtra. Three persons were killed, two stabbed to death and one succumbed to heart attack due to shock, after communal riots broke out on Tuesday night. Mob clashes between Hindu and Muslim communities left several people injured, most of them grievously when violence broke out in Kalyan in Thane district, 55 kms from Mumbai, on 9 April. Giving a detailed account eye witnesses said that an ordinary squabble between a Muslim autorickshaw driver and his Hindu passengers led to fisticuffs. The altercations later on took a communal turn sparking off riots. Mobs went on rampage and started setting fire to houses and business establishments. At least 14 houses were burnt and several shops ransacked. The rioters also burnt two scooters, an autorickshaw and damaged several other vehicles. Indefinite curfew was imposed in the satellite town on Wednesday, 10 April afternoon following reports of fresh incidents of brickbatting and arson in the Rohidaswada area of the old township which also saw large scale rioting and violence just a day earlier. Zonal Deputy Commissioner of Police said that 10 persons were arrested. Adequate companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) and the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) had also been stationed in the trouble-prone area. A strict watch was being kept on the situation.

Earlier, according to reports reaching here late, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists during a bandh call in Ludhiana tried to attack Jama Masjid. However, the alleged attack was foiled by the alert police force of the district. Security measures were also further tightened following the incident. In Ludhiana district of the State of Punjab, Muslim population is at an estimated strength of five lakh. Besides, there are nearly 50 mosques and six madrasas in the district.

The communal campaign and incidents of rioting are not solely being directed towards the Muslim community alone. Even the Christian community is not being spared. A church was attacked on Sunday 14 April near Mangalore in the southern State of Karnataka. According to reports, a mob of about 60 persons carried out attack on the Church when prayers (Mass) were being conducted. The mob attacked the Church in protest against what they claimed as alleged attempts to convert local Hindus to Christianity. Worshippers said that stones were hurled at the prayer hall used by a Protestant group at Moodabidri when Sunday prayers were being underway. Some Hindu families were also attending the prayers. However, no one was injured in the attack, although two cars and some window panes were damaged in the communal incident.

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