TWO GIRLS were charred to death and over 100 houses were set ablaze following the gunning down of a youth, an accused in a murder case, in a village in Pratapgarh today.
Several others were injured in the violence, which took place in Godwa village, between two communities. The rioters also resorted to arson. The murder of Ashutosh Pathak by some unidentified persons triggered the communal flare up, police said.
Hundreds of people, carrying weapons, attacked the establishments of a particular community in Godwa, Baldu and Subedar villages, they said. Over 100 houses were set ablaze in which two girls were charred to death, police said.
Tension ran high in the three villages bordering Pratapgarh and Rae Bareli districts. Police detained over 100 people in connection with the violence, they said.
A large police posse has been rushed to the village to control the situation. SP Pratapgarh Prem Prakash, additional district magistrate BB Singh and other senior officers are camping in the village.
Following the killings, an irate mob resorted to arson and also attacked the vehicles of circle officer Lalganj Moinuddin Qazi and area Panchayat chief Gyanendra Pratap Singh. The mob also tried to raid the adjoining villages of a particular community but the police thwarted their attempt. The situation was “tense but under control”.
According to information, the family of Jumman Khan and Drugpal Pathak were at loggerheads for quite some time over the village pradhan election. Khan, who was a teacher in a college in Raniganj, was killed in 1997. In this case Drugpal’s son Ashish was one of the accused and the court had sentenced him to jail. He was freed on bail recently. According to police, Ashish’s name also figured among the top ten criminals of the district.
On Sunday he was sitting at a tea stall in the village when some people, including one Sohrab, attacked him with bombs. Ashish tried to escape but he was chased and shot dead.