Two sects of a religious community clashed in Karond area here with firearms and sharp-edged weapons, injuring 40 people.
The lingering enmity between the people of Shia and Sunni sects in the area over dwelling place flared up on Thursday. Nearly 30 houses were set on fire and 40 damaged in the clash at Amaan colony.
Around 70 families, who moved out of Irani Dera locality near the Bhopal Railway station to Karond area about 10 months ago after buying land, were the target of the attack. Tension was building in the area as the local residents of Karond resented Irani Dera members, who are from another sect, moving into their area.
According to witnesses, the mob cordoned off the colony for about two hours and unleashed terror. The mob also damaged a fire engine trying to enter the area to douse fire, injuring four employees. Sources claimed the agitating mob also fired in the air to prevent police from entering the area.
In pics:More than 25 hurt in clash in MP
Additional police force was rushed to the spot. They fired in the air and lobbed teargas shells to scare away the rioting mob.
On Wednesday night, too, the two groups clashed after a youth of ‘Irani Dera’ brawled with another of the rival group. Hundreds of people picked sides in the brawl. However, police managed to bring the situation under control.
After that the two sides have been priming themselves for a fight. But on Thursday, the attack caught the ‘Irani Dera’ members off guard as most of them were offering prayers at a mosque. "We were at the mosque around 10 am and our family members were sleeping as we had kept ourselves awake after they threatened us on a public address system in the mosque," said 30-year-old Anwar Ali, who had shifted to Karond from Irani Dera.
Some of the victims blamed a Congress leader for the attack. "The assailants told us they had weapons and instructions from the high command. They threatened to kill us if we didn’t leave the area," said Farida Bi, who was injured on the head.
According to police, about 450-strong police force, including the Rapid Action Force, has been deployed in the area. Deputy inspector general of police (DIG) D Sreenivasa Verma said, "Situation is completely under control. We are in contact with the two sides and have urged them to maintain peace. Strict action will be taken against those who were behind the clash."
Read:Even women, kids not spared in attack