Curfew relaxed; 15 persons suspected of arson and violence arrested
A day after curfew was imposed in an area here, after a protest rally against the violence in Assam and Myanmar turned violent, stray cases of stone-throwing were reported on Saturday but the situation largely was peaceful. Curfew was relaxed on Saturday, but police had to cordon off the site after a small crowd attacked a shop in the troubled area during the day.
The police had to lathicharge the crowd and cordon off the area for the rest of the day. The markets in nearby areas remained shut. A Special Operations Group police officer said 15 persons suspected of arson and violence had been arrested till Saturday. According to the police, their forces had suffered no injuries. The area was rife with rumours for the rest of the day.
Earlier on Saturday, supporters of Vishwa Hindu Parishad organised a protest rally carrying anti-government placards. Police and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) forces, however, prevented the rally from entering the site of Friday’s violence. A local organisation hosted a peace rally in the city and distributed pamphlets asking the public to maintain peace before the festival of Id-ul-Fitr and to stay away from rumours.
Some local politicians also visited the area and asked locals to maintain peace. No rallies were allowed to come out in the troubled area.
Police and PAC forces were present on Friday after residents of the area came out in large numbers protesting the damage done to their property by a rally. They demanded a five-day curfew. The rally, protesting the violence in Assam and Myanmar, had attacked a business neighbourhood in the centrally located Kotwali area.
Trouble started when a group of people who had assembled after attending prayers on the last Friday of Ramzan hurled stones and bricks at shops and vehicles. District Magistrate Anil Kumar, who himself rushed to the spot with senior police officers, tried to calm the people. As a precaution, a seven-hour curfew was imposed. According to eyewitness accounts, around 100 vehicles were damaged in the violence on Friday. More than a dozen shops were reportedly damaged. The forces had lathicharged sections of the protesting groups.
According to police sources, the crowd went into a fury and attacked local shops when they were asked to disperse. The Allahabad SSP couldn’t be reached for comments on Saturday evening.