Thirty people have been picked up for questioning in connection with the riots in Bhainsa town in Adilabad district in northern Andhra Pradesh on Friday and subsequent arson in Watoli village on Sunday in which six members of a family were charred to death. Four persons had died in Bhainsa on Friday, bringing the death toll to 10.
Among those held is a local Hindu Vahini leader. The riot-affected areas remained incident-free as dawn-to-dusk curfew remained in force.
The police have taken up patrolling in all towns and localities with sizeable Muslim populations.
Bhainsa town, bordering Maharasthra is considered the second most communally sensitive town in the state (Hyderabad being No. 1). The town, according to the 2001 Census, has a population of 41,003, with Muslims forming 40 per cent of the population.
The town is known for its cotton ginning industry and has six mills. Traders from Maharasthra and Gujarat come here to buy cotton.
The town has a history of communal strife. Though small skirmishes take place all the time, major outbreaks of communal violence have taken place this time after a gap of 12 years.
Everytime, riots were sparked after Muslims objected to Hindus taking processions of their deities near a mosque. This time too, the scene unfolded the same way and the handful of policemen were woefully inadequate to tackle violence.