Bhopal: Residents flee homes fearing arrest, attack

  • Ranjan and Yogendra Pratap Singh, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Dec 13, 2014 17:43 IST

Eerie silence, burnt, damaged and deserted houses with belongings of residents scattered in open, and heavy patrol police greeted visitors on Friday at Aman Colony — the site of clash between neighbourhood members of Shia and Sunni sects in Karond.

On Thursday, a mob, allegedly belonging to Sunni sect, swooped down on the colony where people belonging to Shia sect lived. They attacked with firearms and sharp-edged weapons, set houses on fire and damaged vehicles. The reign of terror went on for more than two hours before police could control the mob.

The terrorised residents, numbering around 500, fled their homes. And fearing arrest, around 1,000 people of Sunni sect in the neighbourhood locked their houses and left.

The locals blamed the residents who migrated from Irani Dera near Bhopal railway station to their area for the trouble. "They didn’t allow people to go through their area despite it being thoroughfare. They encroached on land and sold it illegally. Drug abuse and chain-snatching were common," said Yousuf Khan.

However, the people who moved in from Irani Dera refuted the allegations against them. "If we had indulged in such crimes, the police would have had a lot of FIRs against us. But there are no such complaints," said Gulam Ali, one of the Shia leaders living near Bhopal railway station.

Gulam Ali admitted there were a few among them who encroached on plots. “But which section of society doesn’t have such people. It doesn’t mean that houses of all the people should be attacked for faults of some.”

He said disputes between property dealers on the two sides were the reason behind the attack.

Some Muslim community leaders started the reconciliation process on Friday. Leaders of the two sects reportedly met the Shahar Qazi.

However, there was no positive outcome till night. A delegation of Shias also met home minister Babulal Gaur and sought his intervention. Shahar Qazi Syed Mushtaq Ali Nadvi said, "This is not a Shia-Sunni dispute but a dispute between two localities."

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