By TwoCircles.net Staff Reporter,
Yavatmal: When all the Muslims in the country were celebrating Eid on Tuesday, there was a town in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal which was gripped in communal tension after a spat over parking with the police.
On Tuesday, Muslims were gathering to offer Eid-ul-Fitr prayer on Eidgah (a place to offer special prayer for all the Muslims in the town) situated near the bus stand of town Pusaad in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra. Police were deployed in numbers to contain traffic and to maintain law & order.
It was reported to TCN by a source in the said town that one Assistant Police Inspector Dhiraj Chavan allegedly obstructed one of the youth from parking his two-wheeler and abused him. After the prayer that particular youth called his brother Vice Corporator Dr Mohammad Nadeem and others to talk with API Chavan.
Locals claim that Dr Nadeem tried to console youths and told API not to use foul language on the occasion of Eid but API Chavan threatened him and the youths that he will shoot them; and that deteriorated the situation.
Dr. Nadeem who is also the senior authority of INC in Pusaad also led the angry youth to the local police station to file complaint against API Dhiraj Chavan. The complaint was registered by the Thanedar R V Sonune who also assured the gathered Muslim mob of an action against API Dhiraj Chavan.
Dr. Nadeem then asked gathered mob to disperse and to celebrate Eid, but while the mob was returning to their homes stones were allegedly pelted towards them by a group of people belonging to Shiv Sena who had gathered when news of Muslim mob going to police station spread in the town.
Due to pelting of stones people started to run helter and shelter and in rioting that followed cars and two wheelers were burned by the enraged mobs.
Police started patrolling and beating people found to be involved in the violence. It soon took political colour as Shiv Sena – BJP leaders including Shiv Sena MP Bhavana Gawali went to police station and appealed to lady DySP S. Patil to arrest Dr. Nadeem and the Muslim youths involved in torching of vehicles or threatened to on strike.
News agency PTI quoted Yavatmal Superintendent of Police Ranjan Kumar Sharma saying that Nadeem had contacted him on phone and reiterated their demand for action against API Chavan, following which he has shifted Chavan to the police control room.
Our sources in the town told us that the Shiv Sainiks went on rampage and torched some of the shops belonging to Muslims, including a clinic of pediatric Dr. Harif Ahmed.
Criminal offences have been registered against 27 people and 16 of them have been arrested so far, including Nadeem, allegedly for ‘master-minding’ the riot. It was reported that Dr. Nadeem himself surrendered to maintain peace and harmony in the city. The Pusad court has granted the police, custodial remand of 16 alleged rioters, out of 27 people, against whom FIRs were registered on Wednesday evening by the police.
There was heavy deployment of police in the town and a section of media reported that curfew has been called. Sharma, Yavatmal SP, also told PTI, “We have not imposed any curfew in the riot torn city of Pusad,” but clarified that Section 37 (1) of the Mumbai Police Act was imposed after the incident, while the situation was brought under control by deploying additional State Reserve Police force from neighbouring districts of Washim and Akola.
The arrests and curfew came into effect after peace meeting conducted by sitting NCP MLA M. Naik who tried to calm down Shiv Sainiks and BJP activists who were adamant for the arrest of Muslims including Vice Corporator Dr. Nadeem.
Muslims in the area believe that police enforced ‘curfew’ (there was no official call for curfew, but situation was curfew like) only in the Muslim areas while miscreants of other community were left free to damage properties belonging to Muslims.
Mother of one of the arrested youth, who did not want to be named, told TCN, “Our Eid has been ruined by police, I don’t know if my son even got any food to eat on Eid.”
M. Raheman (68) belonging to an adjacent town said, “My son Khatib had gone to Pusaad for interview in an Urban Bank on Wednesday but when he returned to home his hand was fractured due to police beating and I had to admit him in local hospital.”
It was reported that curfew has been relaxed on Thursday for 2 hours to facilitate daily needs to people. Families of the arrested youth allege one sided action by police as police have not arrested any person from other community.
The situation is under control according to police. The city was witness to couple of communal tensions in past in 2007 and 2008 when a Mosque in Govind Nagar area of Pusaad was completely torched by the angry Hindu mob.
Earlier on Friday a number of Muslims had organized a peace rally showing their distress towards the Israeli aggression on Gaza Muslims. The rally was attended by over two thousand Muslims which were headed by Jamat-e-Islami and other Islamic organizations in the town.