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Rishikesh simmers in communal tension

“Section 144 of CrPC was imposed in the city and stern warning issued that punitive action will be taken against violators. We urge the people not to get swayed by rumours,” Dehradun superintendent of police, rural, Sarita Dobhal said.

dehradun Updated: Oct 06, 2017 21:04 IST
Sandeep Rawat
Sandeep Rawat
Hindustan Times
Raiwala,communal tension,Prem Chandra Agarwal
Police take inputs from locals after a few shops were torched in Rishikesh on Friday.(HT Photo)

RAIWALA (HARIDWAR): At least four vegetable kiosks were torched in Rishikesh on Friday after communal tension spread from Raiwala following the death of a 34-year-old man.

“Section 144 of CrPC was imposed in the city and stern warning issued that punitive action will be taken against violators. We urge the people not to get swayed by rumours,” Dehradun superintendent of police, rural, Sarita Dobhal said.

Earlier in the day, Dobhal rushed with additional police force when news trickled in that activists of Hindu Jagran Manch, an offshoot of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), had altercation with some shopkeepers at Shanti Bazaar.

Rishikesh is represented by speaker Prem Chandra Agarwal in the Uttarakhand assembly. Agarwal had visited locals at Raiwala and visited the local police station on Thursday. HT repeatedly tried to contact Agarwal over phone but he was unavailable for comments.

The Dehradun administration deployed police personnel in large numbers at Raiwala, 15 km from Rishikesh, on the Haridwar–Dehradun national highway. Shops remained closed for the second day at Raiwala where some property was set afire on Thursday. Heavy deployment of the police was done at sensitive pockets of Raiwala, Rishikesh, Chiddarwala, Gumaniwala and Shyampur.

Tension had spread after Lakshman Singh Kalura, a resident of Gauhrimafi, was found dead at the railway track in Raiwala on the night of October 3. Singh was said to be involved in an affair with the daughter of a poultry farm owner.

The police said the poultry owner, identified as Islam, had sacked Singh - a father of three children - on hearing the alleged affair but it didn’t stop the Gauhrimafi resident from meeting his former employer’s daughter. Islam and his son were booked for murder (Section 302 of IPC) and arrested on Thursday. “The police force is investigating the case. We are repeatedly requesting locals to cooperate with us,” Dobhal said.

Meanwhile, the right-wing organisation refused to remain “quiet” despite appeal to maintain calm. “In most crime cases, it is Muslims who are involved. We will not allow them to open their shops or do trade within the city ,” said Rajiv Kumar Gupta, president of Hindu Jagran Manch.

First Published: Oct 06, 2017 21:04 IST