Seoni town remained tense but peaceful on Saturday, a day after communal violence rocked the Madhya Pradesh town following a Hindu new year procession, forcing local administration to impose prohibitory orders.
“No fresh violence has been reported from anywhere on Saturday. Prohibitory orders imposed under Section 144 of CrPc has been lifted,” SP Seoni AK Pandey told Hindustan Times.
Six cases of arson, rioting, attempt to murder and house trespass have been lodged against unidentified persons and video footage of the incidents are being examined to identify the culprits, added Pandey.
According to Seoni Kotwali sources, at least five persons, including a local BJP leader Rakesh Pal, Bajrang Dal leader Mayank Dube, Sanjay Tiwari, Babu Bhalotia and Pradeep Bais were arrested for imperiling public peace on Friday night. They were, however, granted bail by a SDM court on Saturday.
The five arrested men were among those who had organised the Hindu new year motorbike rally on Friday, which traversed the town — around 360 km from Bhopal — on Saturday between 12.30 pm and 3.30 pm. Some of members of the rally clashed with a group of Muslims while returning from the rally at around 3.45 pm in Sahu Kabadwadi-Chaurasia Mohalla.
Four persons were injured in Friday’s violence, two of whom have been referred to Nagpur (Maharashtra) for life saving treatment.
The communal violence triggered by the clash soon spread to several other localities situated within a 3-4 km radius, including Shukrawari, Sufi Nagar, Bhairoganj and Barghat Naka.
While the violence spread from one locality to other in around 45 minutes, police managed to control it in over two hours. The local administration imposed prohibitory orders only after two hours from the incident at around 6 pm.
It was the fourth incident of communal violence in six months in Seoni. In October 2015, the killing of a local BJP leader Kapoor Chand had triggered communal violence forcing the administration to clamp curfew in Bargat and impose prohibitory orders in rest of the town for a week.
In November 2015, communal violence erupted again in Barghat following clashes between Hindus and Muslims in Khursipar area, prompting the administration to impose prohibitory orders across the town.