THE COMMUNALLY sensitive area of Chhatribag remained tense on Sunday with heavy police presence, including plainclothesmen, following a clash between two groups in the locality late on Saturday.
However, undeterred by the incident, members of the Dharma Raksha Samiti managed to perform the weekly ‘puja’ at Kadav Ghat. Saturday’s clash was over a petty incident that led to stone pelting again and once again tense Sunday morning due to the routine weekly ‘Aarti’.
Personnel from Rapid Action Force (RAF) and three police stations under their respective station in-charges, CSP Dhananjay Shah and SDM Uma Shankar Bhargava remained vigilant at the spot from early morning.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Shah said that only five persons were allowed to conduct ‘puja’ at the Ganesh temple and 25 others allowed by the administration were permitted to stand at a distance and chant ‘bhajans’. The Sunday ‘Aarti’ passed off peacefully with no untoward incident.
Shah said that Saturday’s incident was the outcome of a petty dispute resulting from blocking the way of one Solanki, who is an active member of the Dharma Raksha Samiti, by the locals. Solanki who was returning home with three friends in Mohanpura was stopped at a small, narrow culvert, which was closed for repairs. The culvert, connecting Kadav Ghat with Chhatribag near a Ram temple, was blocked by the locals, mostly Muslims.
Solanki returned later with a group of around 25 and the situation was aggravated leading to stone pelting at about 8.15 pm. The situation was brought under control by the police within a few minutes.
The actual drama unfolded then with saffron brigade activists staging a demonstration at the Pandrinath police station for about three hours. They demanded imposition of Section 153 (A) - inciting riot - against members of the minority community. The demonstrators raised slogans, hurled abuse at the police, broke a flowerpot and targeted station in charge K C Malviya.
At one point, the police seemed ready to arrest the demonstrators and a police van waited outside to take them to jail but sources said that senior police officials issued instructions not to arrest the demonstrators until and unless they became violent.
Meanwhile, the Pandrinath police have registered cases against several persons named by factions from both communities and also several persons identified as those responsible for gherao of the police station Saturday night.
A total of 14 persons have been identified and cases have been registered against them, while 15 others who participated in the demonstration have been booked under Sections 353, 147, 149 of the IPC and Prevention of Public Property Damage Act 1984 (3).
The police have also registered cases on the complaints made by both parties. Tanuja Bai and Manish Solanki got a complaint registered against 15 and four members, respectively, named from the other community. Similarly a ‘zero kaymi’ was made on the compliant of Haji Wasim against nine Hindus. Similar sections of the IPC including 153 (a), 336, 294, 506 and 147 have been registered in cases filed by both sides.