Communal tension continued in Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur town Tuesday with one person being shot dead the night before when violence erupted during curfew relaxation.
Schools, shops and commercial establishments were closed as curfew was imposed in large parts of the town -- where a scuffle between two individuals on Saturday night accidentally led to a person in a Muharram procession being shot, snowballing into large-scale arson and disruption of normal life.
On Monday night, a youth was shot dead by unidentified miscreants when curfew was relaxed.
Effecting changes in the administration, the government flew in SK Bhagat, senior superintendent of police with the state's Special Task Force (STF), from Lucknow well after midnight to take command of the police. Besides, Rakesh Goel was rushed from Sitapur to take over as new district magistrate of this eastern Uttar Pradesh town.
The state government also ordered suspension of six local officials including district magistrate Hari Om and senior superintendent of police Raja Srivastava.
"They have all been suspended for dereliction of duty as they failed to contain the violence," Principal Home Secretary Satish Kumar Agrawal said.
According to Bhagat, the situation is now under control but no chances could be taken. "We have to be extremely tough."
He did not rule out the possibility of extension of curfew to more areas of the city, where four of seven police circles were already under curfew. "We will also have to be very strict about curfew relaxation as well."
The trouble began on Saturday night after two drunken youngsters clashed at a wedding party. A gunshot fired by one of them accidentally hit a person participating in a Muharrum procession that was passing by.
While the person accidentally hit sustained minor injuries, the procession participants turned their ire against the marriage party and it soon turned into a free-for-all.
Later in the night, there were clashes between Hindus and Muslims. By the time police got into action, much arson had taken place.
On Sunday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Yogi Adityanath's arrest triggered fresh violence that surfaced again on Monday with his followers coming out on streets hurling stones at policemen, attacking public and private property. They also torched two buses and a private car, besides shops and commercial establishments.