Vadodara remained tense on Monday as police have arrested over 200 people following last week’s communal clashes sparked by a Facebook post that left several people injured while more than a dozen vehicles and shops were set afire.
Two people were stabbed on Sunday evening, forcing police to fire in the air and lob teargas shells to disperse violent mobs.
The situation was under control and peaceful, Vadodara police chief E Radhakrishnan said, adding that 13 companies of state reserve police force and rapid action force were deployed in sensitive areas.
Mobile data services including bulk SMS and MMS facilities will remain suspended till Tuesday to stop rumours and hate messages from spreading through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.
Tensions flared up on September 25 after an image was posted on Facebook that hurt religious sentiments, sources said.
“This is the season of shopping because of Navratri and Diwali but we are losing out due to the violence,” said Pradip Pathak, who owns a dress materials store.
Vadodara in Gujarat was one of the two constituencies Prime Minister Narendra Modi won in the Lok Sabha elections but he gave up the seat in favour of Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi and his party secured Vadodara again in a by-election this month.
The violence comes at a time when Modi is on an official visit to the United States, a country where he was unwelcome for many years following bloody communal riots in Gujarat when he was the chief minister in 2002.
The Union home ministry has asked the state government to submit a report on the situation.