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Bangalore tense after communal clashes

A day after police firing left one person dead and several injured, tension continues in the city.

india Updated: Jan 22, 2007 16:04 IST

A day after police firing sparked by communal clashes left one person dead and several injured, tension simmered in Bangalore on Monday. But authorities said they were confident peace would return soon.

A 12-year-old boy was killed and at least 22 people were injured when the police opened fire to chase away mobs that attacked them and also vandalised private and public property in the residential-cum-commercial areas of the city's eastern districts.

Curfew was clamped in many parts of east Bangalore including Bharati Nagar, Frazer town and Commercial Street.

"There is a lot of fear among people and no one wants to risk their life as there has been a lot of violence in the city since Friday," said Sangmesh, a steward at the Eden Park restaurant.

The violent clashes started Friday after people protested violently against the hanging of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in communally sensitive areas with a large Muslim population.

On Sunday, several shops and buses were also set ablaze in the clashes. A Virat Hindu Samavesha, organised by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in association with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, was being held in one of the violence-hit areas.

"I have not seen such violence in the last six-seven years and I have asked my kids to not to venture out of home till Wednesday. Who knows what is going to happen this afternoon," Sangmesh said. He added that there was at least a 40 per cent drop in their business on Sunday.

Abdul, a newspaper vendor on Infantry Road, said, "This kind of violence has never been witnessed in the last 10 years. Some violence and a curfew was seen here when Kannada actor Raj Kumar was kidnapped by forest brigand Veerappan a few years back.

"Though there is a lot of fear I have to earn money and livelihood. As soon as the curfew was lifted in the morning I came to sell papers again despite all the violence... life goes on," Abdul added.

Anil, a manager of Hotel Gold Star at Queens Road, said he had asked the waiters and office boys not to venture near towards Bharati Nagar, Shivaji Nagar and Russel market.

"These are the most sensitive and violence prone areas. We are learning to cope with the violence with a lot of apprehension among our guests, people and all our staff," he said.

At least 1,000 policemen have been deployed in these violence-prone areas and two platoons of the Rapid Action Force, along with the police, will conduct a flag march in the city to instil confidence in the people. All schools in the violence-hit areas will remain shut till Tuesday.

Bangalore Police Commissioner N Achuta Rao said, "The situation is under control and we are trying our best to bring peace to the city after three days of violence.

"There was a lot of violence Sunday as mobs torched buses, stabbed each other, pelted stones at vehicles despite all our efforts. They forced us to open fire and one person was killed."