Dhule still under curfew, death toll rises to seven

October 8th, 2008 - 2:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhule, Oct 8 (IANS) Curfew continued in most parts of this town in north Maharashtra for the fourth day Wednesday as the death toll in Sunday’s communal clashes rose to seven.However, despite stray incidents of violence in a couple of small but sensitive pockets in Dhule, around 500 km from the Maharashtra capital Mumbai, the situation was “under control”, said Special Inspector General of Police (Nashik) S.P. Gupta.

Gupta told IANS that although peace returned to Dhule Monday, simmering discontent led to another conflagration Tuesday evening.

“In order to ensure complete return to normalcy, we have to keep most parts of the town under curfew,” he said.

Minor incidents of violence continued in mainly the old city area and Bhadag Chawl, Azad Nagar, Bhangar Bazaar, Mogulai Gurudwara and Ekveera Devi Chowk.

On Sunday morning, some people allegedly took objection to and tore off posters and banners put up by the Hindu Raksha Samiti, inviting people to a public meeting in the Ram Mandir Chowk in the evening.

Following the violent reactions, the police resorted to caning, bursting teargas shells, firing and imposed the curfew.

In the ensuing free for fall, four persons lost their lives and another 122 were injured till Monday. Among those injured were district additional collector M.Y. Patil, Special IGP Gupta, Dhule Superintendent of Police S.P. Kolhe and Azad Nagar Police Station officer Rajput.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator from Dhule Rajvardhan Kadambande said differences over the putting up of posters and banners led to clashes which anti-social elements exploited.

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is visiting the riot-hit town Wednesday, two days after deputy chief minister R.R. Patil, who holds the home portfolio, visited the place Monday for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.

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