Three persons were killed and six injured in a communal clash in Rajasthan’s Pratapgarh district, triggering tension and incidents of arson, which prompted authorities to impose curfew.
Chief minister Vasundhara Raje appealed for calm following the first communal clash in her barely month-old second tenure and rushed senior police officials to the district.
The clash occurred at Kotdi village of the district, around 415 km south of Jaipur, on Tuesday night following an argument between some persons.
"Within minutes, more than 100 people from both sides gathered at a bus stop and some men from the minority community opened fire leaving several people injured,” Pratapgarh superintendent of police UK Chhanwal said on Wednesday.
One person was killed in retaliatory firing.
The men who had opened fire first then sped on a motorcycle to nearby Moheda village and opened fire there too, injuring four people, said Chhanwal.
The police identified the people killed in the violence as Feroz Khan, 29, Bhanwar Singh, 50, and Dinesh, 25.
Khan was from Kotdi, while Singh and Dinesh belonged to Moheda, the police said.
Chhanwal said both sides filed complaints at the Arnod police station against each other, following which five persons were detained for questioning.
The injured have been admitted to MB Hospital in Udaipur. Police personnel were deployed at the hospital to prevent any untoward incident.
Members of the Kshatriya Mahasabha have demanded the guilty be punished. They have also demanded government jobs and Rs 25 lakh aid for families of the deceased members of the community.
The bodies of the deceased were handed over to their families after post-mortem.
Pratapgarh collector Ratan Lahoti said the administration was taking all steps to ensure law and order and the miscreants would be dealt with firmly.
He said the deceased would be given Rs 5 lakh ex gratia. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said it would give Rs 1 lakh additional help to the families.
The government moved swiftly after unrest spread on Wednesday to nearby villages in Daloth and Salamgarh areas, where attempts were made to set fire to shops.
Director general of police Omendra Bhardwaj said additional police force had been deployed in the area and senior officials had been sent to Pratapgarh from Jaipur.
Rajasthan has been intermittently hit by communal clashes in the last few years. During the erstwhile Congress government’s tenure, the worst of such clashes had occurred in September 2011 at Gopalgarh village, nearly 240 km east of Jaipur, in Bharatpur district.
Ten people were killed in the clash between the Mev and Gujjar communities over portion of a pond land which had been converted into a graveyard in revenue records by a patwari (revenue official).