Curfew was clamped in this Hindu-dominated town of an otherwise Muslim-dominated Punhana assembly segment of the Mewat district in the wee hours of Saturday morning at around 4am after a communally sensitive situation threatened the peace in the area.
While the situation had started brewing during the polling day on April 10 after three BJP activists, including a polling agent at booth number 71 at Nakanpur in Punhana, were thrashed allegedly by INLD supporters, mostly Muslims, things threatened to get out of hand when a Muslim youth was found shot dead in the head on late Friday evening around 8pm.
The district administration claimed that the two incidents –violence on polling day and the murder of the Muslim youth identified as 24-year-old Wajid – were not related. “We are sure that the two incidents are unrelated, but taking precautions we have clamped a curfew. As of now Haryana police and CRPF are on duty, but we have kept the armed forces in reserve lest the situation worsens.
After a late evening review we will take any decision on relaxing the curfew,” said deputy commissioner of Mewat RC Verma.
As per reports, 400 personnel from state police and para-military forces, including two companies of the CRPF, have been deployed in the affected areas. Further, sources said the victim was the son of the cook at the Punhana police station, Majid. The dead body was recovered near an ice factory and a petrol pump on the Jamalgarh road with a lone shot in the head.
Meanwhile, the residents of Punhana town also claimed that the two incidents were not related and that some miscreants were trying to use the situation to incite communal violence.
Earlier on polling day, after the violence at Nakanpur, the Punhana market had been closed in protest. Later on Friday, a panchayat was called by the local Meo-Muslim leaders at the BDO
office, where a resolution was moved to boycott Hindu establishments in Punhana.
“Local leaders such as our MLA Mohammad Ilyas were present, but he opposed this resolution, along with many other notables. So the boycott proposal did not get passed with unanimity,” said a resident of Punhana town.
(With inputs from Snehil Sinha)