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Maha: Curfew in Amravati as fresh violence erupts; Raut says ploy to destabilise state govt

Amravati/Mumbai: A curfew was imposed in Maharashtra's Amravati city on Saturday after a mob hurled stones on shops during a bandh allegedly organised by BJP in protest against rallies taken out by members of a minority community the day before against the purported communal violence in Tripura, police said.

Police resorted to lathicharge to control the situation, an Amravati Police official said.

On Saturday morning, hundreds of people, many of them holding saffron flags in their hands and raising slogans, came out on streets in Rajkamal Chowk area of this east Maharashtra city, located around 670 km from the state capital.

Some members of the mob hurled stones at the shops and damaged them in the Rajkamal Chowk and some other places, the official said, adding that the police lathicharged the protesters to bring the situation under control.

Against the backdrop of back to back incidents of stone-pelting on Friday and Saturday, officiating police commissioner Sandip Patil issued orders imposing a curfew in the city limits of Amravati under sections 144(1), (2), (3) of the CrPc to avoid any untoward incidents.

Except for medical emergencies, people are not allowed to come out of their houses. Similarly, a gathering of more than five people is not allowed, as per the order.

The curfew will remain in force till further notice.

On Friday, various cities in Maharashtra had witnessed stone-pelting during rallies taken out by some Muslim organisations protesting against the purported communal violence in Tripura.

These incidents were reported from Amravati, Nanded, Malegaon, Washim and Yavatmal districts.

Police have so far arrested 20 people and detained four others by registering 20 FIRs under various charges, including rioting, in connection with Friday's incidents.

In Amravati, over 8,000 people had gathered outside the district collector's office on Friday to submit a memorandum demanding that atrocities against the minority community be stopped.

When people were leaving after submitting the memorandum, stone-pelting took place at three places between Chitra Chowk and Cotton Market under the limits of the Kotwali police station.

Meanwhile, launching a veiled attack on opposition BJP, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Saturday said the violence in Amravati and other places is aimed at destabilising the MVA government.

Speaking to reporters in Aurangabad, Raut said the state government is firm in the saddle and that the real faces of the perpetrators of violence will be exposed soon.

"The violence that is taking place in Maharashtra is aimed at destabilising the MVA government. Raising the bogey of violence, they (Opposition) will meet the state governor and write letters to the Union home ministry claiming that the (law and order) situation in Maharashtra is deteriorating. This will happen in future too. But the state government is firm in the saddle," Raut said.

He said the "real faces" behind this violence will be exposed in the inquiry of the state Home ministry.

The Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress are the constituents of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.

A day after the bandh was observed by Muslim organisations, Amravati district guardian minister Yashomati Thakur said some anti-social elements are trying to vitiate the atmosphere by throwing stones on shops.

"The state government will take necessary action. However, some people are using this for political gains," she said and appealed to people to not believe in rumours.

AIMIM MP Imtiaz Jaleel has also condemned the violence in Amravati.

"I want to question those leaders in the state who came to power by taking the votes of Muslims and why they didn't condemn the violence in Tripura. If this violence in Maharashtra is a 'tit for tat' by any political party then this is the example of irresponsibility," he said.

Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis said it was wrong to organise rallies in the state for an incident that "never occurred" in Tripura and appealed to people to exercise restraint.

The Tripura government and local police have clarified that no religious place of a minority community was burned down. They have issued pictures of the same as well. I appeal to both the communities to observe restrain, the former chief minister told reporters in Mumbai.

The senior BJP leader also said that political parties in the state government should not give inflammatory statements.

"It is absolutely wrong to hold rallies here in Maharashtra for an incident that has not even taken place in Tripura state. It is wrong to attack shops of a particular community, he said. PTI

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