Arson, violence mark shutdown in Madhya Pradesh

July 3rd, 2008 - 3:54 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

Bhopal, July 3 (IANS) Minor clashes and burning of a few vehicles here Thursday marked the shutdown called by the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ally Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to protest the Jammu and Kashmir government’s decision to cancel the allotment of forest land to the Amarnath shrine board. There was violence near old Bhopal’s bus stand area and adjacent localities when activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Shiv Sena and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) forced the shopkeepers to down their shutters.

They beat up some shopkeepers and passersby and set ablaze about half a dozen vehicles.

Angry over the forced closure, some people threw stones at them from the roof tops of their houses, triggering minor communal clashes.

Authorities later deployed personnel from the Rapid Action Force (RAF) to control the situation.

Clashes between people belonging to two communities also occurred in other parts of Old Bhopal including Shahjehanabad, Budhwara, Itwara and Karond.

According to reports, rioting between the workers of the BJP and the VHP and some shopkeepers also took place in Jabalpur, Indore and Dhar. Several shops were damaged in Jabalpur.

Government offices and banks functioned as usual but educational institutions were closed.

The police have been deployed in force at all sensitive places across the state and the situation was tense at several places but under control, senior police officers said.

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