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Solapur remains tense after rioting

Police declared a curfew and detained 100 people due to some unlawful activities, reports Satyajit Joshi.

india Updated: Nov 18, 2006 21:28 IST

Normal life in Solapur has been disturbed for the past four days because of sporadic incidents of violence in protest against Khairlanji in Vidarbha region.

Police have declared curfew for 12 hours during the day because of incidents of stone pelting, arson and damaging of properties following clashes between Dalit organisations and upper caste Hindus.

Solapur Police Commissioner Ashok Kamthe told Hindustan Timesthat the situation was well under control but curfew could be extended on Sunday as a precautionary measure.

Curfew was declared in the town following violent incidents in some parts of the including Navi Peth, Chati Galli, Bali Ves, Siddheshvar Peth, and Vijapur Ves.

Shops and most of the commercial and business establishments were closed for the past three days because of the agitation. No untoward incident was reported in the city on Saturday, Kamthe told HT.

According to police sources, more than 100 people have been detained under various sections of Indian Penal Code and also Bombay Police Act.

On Friday, seven persons reportedly injured in stone pelting which included assistant police commissioner Suhas Warke. His official car was also damaged by the mob. School managements were forced to declare holiday because of the tense situation in the town while passengers suffered as auto rickshaws and local bus service were not operating.

Dalit organizations in Solapur have launched agitation to protest against Khairlanji incident for the past few days. Violence began immediately after police officials conduced a meeting of the peace committee on Friday.

Police were forced to burst tear gas and mild lathi charge to control the mob. Some of the government properties including Doordarshan Kendra (television station) were damaged in stone pelting.

Solapur Police Commissioner Ashok Kamthe said that some organisations had sought permission to take out march against violence, which was refused. "Curfew has been clamped to avoid any untoward incident and can be extended tomorrow also," he said. .

Meanwhile, RPI leader Ramdas Athawale blamed police for the incident in Solapur. Talking to media persons in Pune, Athawale charged that police unnecessarily went for lathicharge after peace committee meeting was over. Athawale also asked for amendment in Dalit Atrocities Act, stating that the act has to be made more strong and powerful.

Athawale said that government plan to extend license to Dalits to posses arm was not adequate. "Government should offer Dalits arms as well as they have no money to purchase the arms", he said.

Maharashtra Nav Nirman Sena president Raj Thackeray has some different views. Addressing a party workers rally in Pune, Raj said that issuance of licenses for arms would further complicate the situation.

First Published: Nov 18, 2006 20:16 IST