Communal clashes over puja processions in AP

More than 50 people were injured in clashes between two communities at Bodhan town of Andhra Pradesh.

india Updated: Oct 04, 2006 19:26 IST

Clashes between Hindu and Muslim groups broke out at two places in south and central India following quarrels over Durga Puja processions.

More than 50 people were injured in clashes between two communities at Bodhan town in Nizamabad district of Andhra Pradesh, about 150 km from Hyderabad. Fresh incidents of violence were reported on Wednesday in Bodhan during a general strike called by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to protest Tuesday's incidents.

The trouble in Bodhan began on Tuesday evening when a procession carrying an idol of Hindu Goddess Durga for immersion passed before a mosque where Muslims had gathered for their ritualistic 'iftar', or fast-breaking.

The Durga procession was allegedly stoned from inside after some devotees accompanying the procession reportedly began dancing to the drum beats thereby disturbing the prayers in the mosque.

Heavy stone throwing followed between the two groups and police fired several rounds in the air. Local Muslims alleged that police and the miscreants entered the mosque and beat up those present inside.

Dozens were injured in clashes when police fired several rounds in the air to disperse clashing groups.

Police have imposed prohibitory orders banning gathering of five or more people in communally sensitive Nizamabad. Police also arrestedten BJP activists for trying to stop trains.

Violence broke out in Nizamabad during a rally taken out by BJP, which was demanding action against the rioters in Bodhan. The protesters set afire four shops even as police used force to disperse them.

Police have described the situation as tense but under control. The organisers of Durga procession claimed that police failed to take any action against those who stoned the procession from inside the mosque.

Curfew was also clamped in the Chhindwara town of Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday following tension between Hindu and Muslim groups.

Trouble started when some someone allegedly threw a bone at a Goddess Durga idol in Diwanjipura locality of Chhindwar, while it was being taken for immersion on Tuesday.

"The procession passed off peacefully due to police presence, but later a dead animal was allegedly found near a mosque," Chhindwara Collector Arun Pandey said.

Angry Muslims spilled out on the streets shouting slogans. Another group reportedly started throwing stones at a Jain temple.

"No untoward incident was reported, but prohibitory orders under Section 144 (banning assembly of five or more people) have been clamped," Pandey said.

"Curfew was imposed on Wednesday morning when a fresh attempt to desecrate a religious place of worship started and all efforts to disperse the mob failed," the district collector said.

The situation in the town is said to be tense but under control.

Meanwhile, police imposed a ban on assembly of five or more persons in Betul district where some people threw stones at a Durga immersion procession.

According to Betul Superintendent of Police Jagat Singh, problem began on Monday evening when members of a Durga procession started dancing in front of a mosque. The incident was repeated in another area on Tuesday evening.

First Published: Oct 04, 2006 19:26 IST