WHEN BASER instincts take over, primitive weapons become the preferred instrument of assault. During Monday’s communal flare-up it wasn’t swords or firearms but the stone, that most primitive of weapons, that was used most widely by rioters.
Again, stones were used to deadly effect at North Toda, Karbala, Mukeripura and other places that witnessed communal incidents last month.
The reasons aren’t hard to seek. As one police official put it, “The stone missile is favoured by rioters because it requires no expertise and can inflict serious damage while enabling the assailant to maintain a safe distance”. Easy availability and the fact that a pile of stones doesn’t usually attract police scrutiny adds to their popularity with rioters.
In fact, according to some reports the missiles that rained down from rooftops at Narsing Bazaar and Udaipura were hoarded well in advance by members of both communities.
“Even during house-to-house searches police focus mainly on sharp-edged weapons and home-made incendiary devices,” declared a resident speaking on condition of anonymity.
As a result stones, as well as bricks and cement blocks, have come to be the favourite weapons during incidents of communal violence. Although the missiles littering the roads are quickly carted offby municipal authorities they simply offload them at another location.
On Monday, for instance, thousands of stone and brick projectiles were collected by the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) from the affected areas, only to be dumped at Shanti Path. “What else could we do”, demanded Assistant Removal Officer RS Solanki when it was pointed out that the missiles could find their way back to sensitive areas for use at a later date.
Municipal Commissioner Vinod Sharma, too, pleads helplessness in the matter. “The Corporation has issued orders barring bricks and stones from being laid alongside the roads. But there’s little we can do if there’s some construction activity in the area. The district administration will have to chalk out a strategy in this regard.”