Jharkhand simmers as communal flare-ups singes four districts
Jharkhand simmered with tension on Saturday as communal clashes in four districts left one person dead and several others injured as authorities grappled to contain the fresh conflagration in a state which recorded the highest number of religious conflicts last year.
Police said that one person died in indiscriminate firing by unidentified people in Hazaribagh town during clashes on Saturday morning.
Besides, violence and vandalism were also reported from Latehar, Daltonganj and Dhanbad which started on Friday and spilled over to Saturday, leaving several people from both communities injured, police added.
Police said that the latest communal clashes were allegedly sparked off by confrontation during Dusshera and Muharram, which coincided this year.
The fresh violence underlined Jharkhand’s emergence as a flashpoint of communal tension with data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) showing that the state recorded as many as 349 incidents of religious violence in 2014, the highest in the country.
An official said chief minister Raghubar Das will visit Hazaribagh on Sunday to take stock of the situation.
The state director general of police DK Pandey said the situation was under control in Hazaribagh and Latehar adding that “the sensitive areas were under police vigil”.
The Hazaribagh administration imposed section 144 CrPC prohibiting assembly of five or more people after the second violent clash in two days between the two communities left one dead and many injured.
The situation was said to be tense in Pagmil, Pedewal, Kallu Chowk and Lohsigna areas of the district, about 90 km from capital Ranchi.
“Our appeal to common people is not to get carried away by rumours. People found spreading rumours about communal clashes would also face action,” said SP Akhilesh Jha.
Latehar too bristled with tension after police caned a large group of people demanding arrest of several miscreants accused of beating up 12 people including some women at Nawagarh on Friday.
Shops and other business establishments also remained closed.
Timely intervention by a police team led by Latehar superintendent of police Anoop Birtharay averted a clash between members of two communities near Thakur Bari in Latehar when demonstrators tried to stop a Muharram procession.
In Daltonganj, tension ran high in Chhatterpur town after two groups clashed at Khatin locality during an idol immersion procession on Friday night.
The trouble began on Friday night when two persons, who were part of an idol procession, sustained injuries after members of another community allegedly attacked them with swords.
“The situation is normal and Muharram processions have taken off at several places in Chhatterpur. We have also lodged cases following complaints from both the sides,” a police official said.
The coal city of Dhanbad escaped a flare-up after police intervention prevented two communities from clashing over Muharram procession and immersion of Durga idols.
(With inputs from Hazaribagh, Daltonganj, Latehar and Dhanbad correspondents)