THERE WAS tension in Chhatribagh following incidents of stone pelting over the issue of performing religious rituals in a temple and a Dargah in Gangaur Ghat area here this morning.
Stone pelting took place twice, the second time in presence of top administration and law enforcement officials. The situation was, however, soon brought under control.
The issue had threatened to take communal shape when the dome of an ancient structure presumed to be a temple emerged from underneath a pile of garbage accumulated over the years and was spotted some days few days back by activists of the Dharma Rakashak Samiti.
This morning, the situation flared up when the area dominated by Muslim residents was celebrating the 35th Urs of Hazrat Sayyed Kale Shah Datar at the shrine situated opposite the place claimed to be a temple.
Activists under the banner of Dharma Rakshak Samiti declared performing ‘puja’ and ‘Ramdhun’ there and hoisting their flag on top of the structure claiming it to be their place of worship.
Despite arbitration by the administration and police, the two communities remained adamant on their programme, following which a procession was taken out under the banner of Dharma Rakshak Samiti from Venkatesh Devsthan, Chhatribag to Gangaur Ghat, where the Muslim community was holding a ‘langar’ on the third and final day of the Urs today.
A large police force had been deployed as precaution against unrest. However, when the two communities came face to face the situation became tense and the crossing and re-crossing the narrow stretch on the ‘ghat’ by members of the Samiti chanting religious slogans after performing ‘puja’ at temple claimed to be that of Lord Ganesha led to stone pelting, which was brought under control by the quick action of the police.
However, sensing the volatility of the situation District Collector Vivek Aggarwal and DIG V Madhukumar Babu visited the entire area on foot along with their respective retinue and camped on the spot. After a series of talks conducted in the arbitration of the administration it was agreed that the Hindus would leave after performing their ‘puja’ at 1 pm after which the langar would commence.
However, just as the members of Samiti were about to leave despite the lapse of the time limit at 1.15 pm, some inflammatory statements and anti-administration rhetoric forced the authorities to make them leave their belongings and leave the area. As a result, stone-pelting started again, but the situation was brought under control.
However, tension flared up again soon and spilled onto the streets. Within minutes everything from stones, bricks and empty bottles were in the air leading to serious injuries to seven persons and causing pandemonium in the area.
Windowpanes of several houses and vehicles were broken and one auto rickshaw (number MP 09 KB 0499), belonging to Noor Mohammed of Jairampur Colony, was shoved of by the mob into the Khan nullah. Three persons were reportedly injured in an acid attack.
The police took immediate action with top officials running into the streets chasing rioters and situation was brought under control before it could spread to adjacent sensitive areas like Bombay Bazaar. Sporadic incidents of violence were reported in the area where a godown is located in the old fort complex, which was controlled quickly by the police.
The Chhatripura police have arrested seven persons 107, 116, 137 seven – Jeetu Kushwaha, Prakash Rathore, Nikki Jaroliya, Devdas Patil, Manoj Mantri, Kamlesh Mudgal, Brijesh. The police was taking action against others and till the report was being filed and more arrests can be made.