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Riot in Mau
S Obaidur Rahman 

Communal tension is mounting in Uttar Pradesh, as the dates of assembly elections are drawing closer. The communal tension that prevailed in Mau city in the eastern part of the state on the occasion of Durga Puja on 8 October seems to be first in that sequel.

The violence erupted in the city when a bomb was thrown on a procession on its way to immerse Durga idol in the Hadipur area of the city. A youth was killed in incidents of stabbing and rioting that followed. Sentiments ran high and accusations and counter accusations were made by the two communities. The procession that was going to immerse the Durga idol went on rampage in the predominantly Muslim area of Hadipur and torched a junkyard. The agitators also ransacked Ashshifa hospital in the same area, broke doors, smashed window-panes and destroyed expensive equipment. 

Curfew was clamped down immediately on the city to check the situation. The indefinite curfew that continued for several days made people to undergo severe hardship. For days curfew was not lifted even for a single hour. People were also not provided with any immediate help and so they had to live without essentials. 

As reports start pouring in it is clear that it were only Muslim areas where day-night curfew continued and no relaxation was given to people to get essentials. Children and patients were worst sufferers as neither medicines nor milk was available to them.

A seven-member Jamiatul Ulema delegation that visited the city says that the riot was pre-planned. Maulana Syed Mahmood Madani says that it was the alert police that frustrated the attempts of rioters to make the situation worse. He said that Muslims in the city are well off which is unbearable for communal elements. They hatched this plan in order to destroy Muslims economically. According to him, the procession was carrying firearms including the bomb that exploded in the mid-way. The bomb was kept in a truck. The Pooja Samiti has accused that stones were thrown at them from the junkyard of Abdul Bari. But actually it was five in the morning and the said shop was closed. He also said that the police perceived that the people belonging to the majority community wanted to cause riots in the city. Though some police personnel themselves want to incite people and give a communal outlook to the bomb explosion and the killing of a person caused by an old animosity, others did not allow those to exploit the situation. He has commended the district magistrate for his handling of the crisis.

The Jamiat delegation met the district administration and local leaders. It has expressed its fears that a fresh bout of riots may flare up in the next few months, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan. 

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