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Dangs simmers, Delhi on toes

Union Govt has decided to rush central paramilitary forces to the tribal-dominated Dangs district in Gujarat.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2006 01:38 IST

Dangs is back in news again. The Union Home Ministry on Wednesday evening decided to rush central paramilitary forces to the tribal-dominated Dangs district in Gujarat following intelligence inputs that tension was brewing in the region over the contentious conversion issue and the proposed "Shabari Kumbh" of the VHP to be held there in mid-February. Violence over conversion is not new to Dangs.

The decision to rush reinforcement from the Centre was taken following a high-level security review meeting chaired by Union home minister Shivraj Patil. In the wake of intelligence inputs, the home ministry had deputed a team, led by A.K. Mitra, special secretary, internal security in MHA, to visit Dangs. Mitra submitted his report following a three-day visit to the region.

Highly placed ministry sources said Mitra, in his report, had also indicated that there was largescale mobilisation of cadre by the Sangh Parivar outfits and some rival groups. The report was discussed at length in Wednesday's meeting. The ministry, in consultation with the state Government, has decided to deploy several companies of RAF in Dangs. In addition, some companies of CRPF have also been sent to Gujarat from the neighbouring states.

The Centre has issued an advisory to the Gujarat government to ensure that the "build-up" in Dangs does not lead to communal tension. The ministry has also assured the state that additional forces can be rushed, if required. Sources said the Centre has asked the state's intelligence units to closely monitor the movement of the Sangh Parivar units, particularly the VHP, Bajrang Dal and its top leaders.

Earlier, various Christian organisations had complained to the state police that the 'Shabari Kumbh' would raise the spectre of communal violence in the region and pile heat on the tribal Christians to re-convert.

The district's 1.86 lakh population comprises 15,000 Christians, who had converted over the past 80 years or so.

Police chief A.K. Bhargava also briefed Mitra on various security measures being taken to prevent untoward incidents during the three-day "kumbh" at the Subir village in Dangs district, where nearly five lakh people are likely to converge.

First Published: Feb 02, 2006 01:38 IST