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Communal riots rock city, 4 killed

COMMUNAL VIOLENCE in heart of the city ? Aminabad, Maulviganj and Kaiserbagh areas ? claimed four lives and left over a dozen critically injured on Friday. This happened when the entire police force was busy in making security arrangements for President APJ Abdul Kalam, who was in the city. The rioters took advantage of this lapse and indulged in violence with impunity. Mobs from two communities went berserk setting about 45 vehicles and a dozen shops afire besides engaging in a pitched battle for over four hours.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 01:49 IST

COMMUNAL VIOLENCE in heart of the city — Aminabad, Maulviganj and Kaiserbagh areas — claimed four lives and left over a dozen critically injured on Friday. This happened when the entire police force was busy in making security arrangements for President APJ Abdul Kalam, who was in the city. The rioters took advantage of this lapse and indulged in violence with impunity. .

Mobs from two communities went berserk setting about 45 vehicles and a dozen shops afire besides engaging in a pitched battle for over four hours.

The Lucknow police failed on every front when it came to responding on time and preventing the violent mobs, who indulged in arson and exchange of fire even in the presence of top cops.

The situation was still tense in the affected areas till the last reports came in. A mob was staging a protest at Qaiserbagh crossing and had also gheraoed the local police station demanding action against the guilty. Separate cases were registered into the arson and deaths from both the sides but the cops were yet to initiate action. There was tension in IT college area where students belonging to an outfit forced closure of shops late in the evening.

The sequence of event began with a procession being taken out in the afternoon in protest against US President Bush’s India visit. While one section of the agitators were staging protest outside Vidhan Bhawan, another section was moving from Aminabad towards Hazratganj around 2 pm.

The mob forcibly got the shops closed in Aminabad and were moving towards Qaiserbagh. They were passing through Nazirabad when they spotted a few shops still open. These shops belonged to another community. The agitators asked the shopkeepers for the same which led to a verbal dual between them.

The processionists later turned violent and started throwing things kept in the shops out. Soon the shopkeepers raised an alarm and the local residents supporting them gathered at the scene.

The groups soon indulged in brick batting. As the news spread to Aminabad,

Maulviganj and La Touche Road areas, hundreds of the members from both the community came face-to-face and a free for all ensued in which firearms were also used.

The rioters burnt seven shops in Mumtaz market, Aminabad and similar numbers of shops in Maulviganj. The irate mobs also torched vehicles outside Mahila College and Bank of Baroda and also torched a portion of the bank’s building.

Though a handful of cops present in Aminabad and Maulviganj tried to disperse the violent mob by opening fire, it did not help much.

Meanwhile, the information was conveyed to the processionists in Hazratganj. They too turned violent damaging vehicles, shops and theatres on their way back home.

SSP Ashutosh Pandey and DM RN Tripathi, who arrived the spot late, failed to control the rioting mobs due to shortage of adequate police force.

Nine persons were undergoing treatment at the KGMU and Balrampur Hospital.

First Published: Mar 04, 2006 01:49 IST