Two dead, curfew in riot-hit Mathura district (Lead, Changing dateline)

June 2nd, 2012 - 6:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Mathura, June 2 (IANS) An indefinite curfew continued Saturday in Kosi Kalan town along the Delhi-Agra highway here after communal violence a day earlier left two people dead in widespread rioting.

The small Uttar Pradesh town wore a ghostly look as residents remained indoors, witnesses and police sources said. Few people got off from trains Saturday at the Kosi station in Mathura district.

The more than a dozen people injured in the riots were warded in hospitals in Mathura and Agra towns and in Faridabad in neighbouring Haryana, officials said.

Police confirmed the death of two people but unconfirmed reports said three people may have died.

District authorities deployed additional security forces to cut off Kosi Kalan from the rural hinterland and areas close to the Haryana border.

An official said security forces had been deployed along the national highway to ensure that the trouble did not spill over to hinder traffic to Agra from Delhi.

Senior Uttar Pradesh government officials visited the town to understand how a trivial water dispute sparked off communal violence.

“The damage has been extensive. People everywhere are wondering what went wrong,” asked Manohar Lal, a Kosi Kalan businessman who somehow reached Agra Saturday to make his weekly purchases.

“Are the relations between the two communities so fragile that a minor spark can trigger such a violent chain reaction?” he asked.

Mathura District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar and Senior Superintendent of Police Dharamvir Singh appealed to people not to be swayed by rumours and help the administration restore normalcy at the earliest.

The officials told the media that the situation was under control.

Additional Director General of Police Jagmohan Yadav reached Kosi Kalan early Saturday and reviewed the situation.

The area had been divided into three zones and 12 sectors for effective patrolling by security agencies.

According to unofficial reports, goods worth crores of rupees were destroyed when shops and market areas were set on fire during the trouble.

Home department officials in Lucknow earlier told IANS that while the situation was now under control, it was tense.

“We are trying to ensure that the communal frenzy is not repeated (elsewhere),” a senior police official said.

One person was killed Friday night and about a dozen were injured after communal clashes erupted in an area some 135 km south of New Delhi and 380 km from Lucknow.

A second man who was injured died Saturday morning.

Curfew was clamped overnight. By then, however, more than three dozen shops were gutted, and 12 two-wheelers and four wheelers were set on fire by mobs.

The Uttar Pradesh government has asked all districts to be on alert to prevent any spread of the communal virus.

Police said they were looking for people who incited the violence.

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