A month after communal violence rocked Dhule town in north Maharashtra, six policemen were on Friday arrested for their part in the disturbances that left six people dead.
Cops are also looking for four other civilians in this connection. The state government also started the process of identifying a retired high court judge to conduct a judicial inquiry into the violence as promised by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.
The police's conduct had come in for criticism from Muslim organizations and civil society activists, who had accused them of targeting the minority community.
The violence had broken out following a scuffle at an eatery which caused an altercation between members of two communities.
“The action [against the policemen] has been taken on the basis of several reports that came from the Director General of Police (Law and Order) Javed Ahmed, evidence that we received in the form of videography, reports from local NGOs. We also took into consideration the number of people involved, the police firing which was less professional, and the grievous nature of injuries,” a senior home department official said.
“The arrests were made this afternoon and they have been charged with relevant sections,” said Pradeep Deshpande, superintendant of police (SP), Dhule.
All of them have been charged with sections 380 and 461 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which include theft and damage to property.
While section 380 calls for an imprisonment which may extend to seven years and fine, section 461 calls for imprisonment term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
Those arrested include Liladhar Sonavane, Ganesh Patil, CR Vende, and DS Sonavane of the SRPF and Yogesh Shinde and Jawar Pawar of the local police.