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Tension returns to city?s troubled zone

THE AFTERSHOCKS of the Varanasi bomb blasts were felt in the State capital too. And nowhere was the tension more perceptible than in the localities that had witnessed a communal flare-up last Friday, thanks to the rumours that did the rounds soon after the news of the blasts came in.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2006 02:33 IST

THE AFTERSHOCKS of the Varanasi bomb blasts were felt in the State capital too. And nowhere was the tension more perceptible than in the localities that had witnessed a communal flare-up last Friday, thanks to the rumours that did the rounds soon after the news of the blasts came in.

Normalcy in the riot-hit localities of the State capital had just returned and markets in Qaiserbagh, Moulviganj and Aminabad localities had opened for the first time on Tuesday, when the news of the blasts vitiated the atmosphere once again. The first sign of trouble surfaced around 7.30 pm when rumours of outbreak of violence in Moulviganj between the two communities spread like wildfire in the markets.

This created panic among the market-goers, who left their shopping mid-way and headed for their homes, causing chaos and forcing the shopkeepers to down their shutters. The city’s main commercial hub, Hazratganj, also did not remain unaffected, as shopkeepers here, too, downed their shutters.

Qaiserbagh circle officer Ajay Misra said he first discovered that something was amiss when he saw people rushing from Nazirabad towards the Aminabad crossing.

“In fact, I stopped a couple of men and tried asking them what was wrong, but nobody knew what exactly had happened,” he said.

Chaotic scenes were witnessed at the Qaiserbagh bus station, causing panic among the passengers. The same scenario was witnessed in Moulviganj from where rumours of fresh clashes spread. An alert was immediately sounded and security personnel, who had just returned fromtheir patrol duties, were told to return to their positions, especially at Qaiserbagh crossing, Nazirabad and Moulviganj. To instill a sense of security, Rapid Action Force and PAC personnel staged a flag march in these areas.
“Apart from sounding an alert, we have beefed up security at places of worship in sensitive localities of the city,” said SSP Ashutosh Pandey.

The ground reality, however, was different as not a single man in khaki was seen at the city’s Hanuman Setu Mandir on Lucknow University Road.

“It appears to be the handiwork of some mischievous elements, as the rumours were spread simultaneously at around the same time in these localities between 7.30 pm and 7.45 pm,” said additional district magistrate SMA Rizvi.

First Published: Mar 08, 2006 02:33 IST