Communal violence broke out in Aurangabad district of Bihar for the third consecutive day on Monday. As many as 50 shops were destroyed and several people, including policemen, were injured. The tension escalated on Sunday when a Ram Navami procession was taken out by Hindu Akhadas which snowballed into full-blown mob violence by Monday.
At around 2 pm on Monday, more than 40 shops were set ablaze, ransacked and looted by the mob, superintendent of police (SP) Satya Prakash Singh told Firstpost, and added that a few shops were again torched after 8 pm the same day. The mob also attacked at least two dozen policemen, Singh added. According to Singh, the procession took a violent turn when it reached the Islamtoli Mohalla at around 2 pm.
“There were hundreds of people in the procession and someone threw a stone at them when they reached Jama Masjid which resulted in violence between the two communities,” Singh said.
The district administration, meanwhile, suspended mobile internet services for 24 hours. Singh also said that three companies of CRPF, additional forces from the adjacent district and around 15 companies of PAC have been camping in the city to restore normalcy.
Curfew was imposed in the city but the district magistrate confirmed that Section 144 wasn’t imposed in the area. On Tuesday morning, the markets remained closed, but the curfew was relaxed at 9 am.
What led to the clash?
“On Sunday, a clash ensued between the two communities when a Ram Navami procession reached the Muslim-dominated Kaji Mohalla and objectionable comments were made by the people in the procession,” district magistrate Rahul Ranjan Mahiwal said.
While permission for Sunday’s procession was granted by the district administration, Monday’s procession was taken out after an oral assurance was given by both groups that they will help restore peace and communal harmony in Aurangabad, Mahiwal said.
“Both groups violated the assurance of reinstating communal harmony,” he said, adding that both sides (people from both Hindu and Muslim communities) were at fault, as they went on a rampage across the city.
“The mob did whatever it could to harm the peace and harmony of this peaceful city. They destroyed shops and set ablaze anything that came in their way. The situation became peaceful only after the police chief and I came out on the street to pacify the outraged crowd. The mob was brought under control on Sunday without major loss, but unfortunately, it broke out again on Monday with larger intensity,” Mahiwal said.