A curfew was imposed and internet services were shut down on Saturday in Maharashtra’s Amravati after fresh violence during a shutdown to protest incidents in Tripura late last month, officials said.
Additional police commissioner Sandip Patil issued orders imposing the curfew in the city limits of Amravati under sections 144(1), (2), (3) of the CrPc to avoid any untoward incidents. According to the order, people cannot leave their homes except for medical emergencies and a gathering of more than five people is not allowed.
City commissioner of police Arti Singh said internet services in Amravati will remain suspended for three days to prevent the spread of rumours that could fuel violence.
Amravati’s guardian minister Yashomati Thakur said the violence was unfortunate and that the police will investigate it. Action will be taken against whoever is guilty, she added. “Everyone has the right to protest. But doing violence in the name of the movement is not right,” she said.
“We appeal to the people to maintain peace. Some chaotic elements are working to spread violence in the city and police are working hard to maintain law and order,” she added.
Also read | Two cops injured in Maharashtra as protest turns violent
The prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC were imposed after at least 10 people were injured when police resorted to lathi-charge during a shutdown called by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday.
The shutdown was called by the BJP to protest against the violent incidents during another bandh, called by a section of people in the city on Friday against the alleged vandalisation of a mosque in Tripura.
News agency PTI cited an official as saying that a mob hurled stones and damaged shops at various places in Amravati during the bandh prompting the police to lathicharge the protesters.
Also read | Cases registered, forces deployed after mosque, shops vandalised: Cops
The news agency reported that hundreds of people, many holding saffron flags in their hands and shouting slogans, came out on the streets in the Rajkamal Chowk area of Amaravati, around 670km from the state capital of Mumbai, in the morning.
It cited a police official as saying that some people hurled stones at shops and damaged them in the Rajkamal Chowk area and other places. An additional police force has been deployed at various places in Amravati, the official told PTI.
Also read | Mumbra, Bhiwandi observe bandh to condemn attacks on Muslims in Tripura
Meanwhile, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis condemned the protests and violence in Maharashtra and appealed for social harmony and peace.
“Reactions in Maharashtra on incidents that never occurred in Tripura, are very unfortunate. It seems like a well-planned conspiracy. Hindu shops set on fire in Amravati. More serious part is MVA ministers giving provocative statements,” he also tweeted.
According to PTI, more than eight thousand people gathered outside the Amravati district collector’s office on Friday to submit a memorandum demanding that atrocities against the minority community be stopped.
Also read | ‘Panisagar mosque is safe. Don’t spread rumours’: Tripura police
As 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.
Kotwali Police have registered at least 20 FIRs in connection with stone-pelting during rallies held in protest against the Tripura communal violence in five districts of Maharashtra. As many as 20 people have also been arrested.
An official told PTI that an additional police force, including two companies of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), has been deployed in Amravati to avoid any untoward incident.
Incidents of stone-pelting were also reported from Malegaon and Nanded during the rallies taken out by some Muslim organisations on Friday. A shutdown was also observed in Muslim-dominated areas of Mumbai, including Bhendi Bazar, Mohammad Ali Road and Kurla, as well as in Thane’s Mumbra and Bhiwandi.
(With agency inputs)