Monday’s violence in Thane has its usual effect on the riot-hit. While both communities are trading charges of intolerance, they agree on one issue: police incompetence.
“It is incidents like this that turn our boys into terrorists,” said a frustrated Zubeida Bangi, owner of Latest Sheriff Bakery, which was burnt down by rioters on Monday.
Zainur Shaikh, a travel agent, said the police helped the rioters. “We are still unable to understand what is our fault. We have always treated Hindus as our brethren,” he added.
Ratnaprabha Patil, president of Navshakti Mahila Mandal, said, “On Monday, about 2,000 people with swords barged into our place and tore our saffron gates. The police were mere spectators.”
But Suresh Angdi, Senior Inspector, Rabodi police station, said, “In the last four days, we have been trying to calm the situation, but both sides did not budge an inch.”
In Thane’s Rabodi area, the worst hit, the communal divide is deep. Although this area was communally volatile in the 1980s, it has remained calm in the past two decades. The area has a population of about 60,000, the majority being Muslims. Still, till a few years ago, it used to elect Shiv Sena leader Anant Tare as its corporator.