1 dead, 7 arrested in Sambhajinagar clashes; MVA targets BJP for riots on Ram Navami

The police have lodged FIR for arson and rioting against 500 people

March 31, 2023 11:30 pm | Updated 11:30 pm IST - PUNE

Police personnel deployed after a clash between two groups near a Ram temple in Sambhajinagar.

Police personnel deployed after a clash between two groups near a Ram temple in Sambhajinagar. | Photo Credit: PTI

One man who was injured in the police firing after a riot-like situation prevailed on Thursday in Maharashtra’s Sambhajinagar city (formerly Aurangabad) succumbed to his wounds on Friday, even as the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) held the ruling BJP responsible for creating a pattern of fomenting communal riots on Rama Navami day across India.

The Sambhajinagar police arrested seven persons in connection with the clashes and stone-pelting, which erupted in the wee hours of Thursday in the city’s Kiradpura locality and had led to several police vehicles being torched.

An argument between two groups had escalated into violence, with irate mobs attacking police officers as well. Around 14 police and private vehicles were damaged and 17 officers were injured, causing the police to fire at the mob, sources said.

The police have lodged an FIR for arson and rioting against 500 people.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena (Uddhav) MP Sanjay Raut accused the BJP of deliberately creating riots in the State as well as in other States on the occasion of Rama Navami, with a view to assert that their ‘Hindutva’ was of a hardline nature.

“The violence on Thursday was clearly State-sponsored and an attempt on the part of the State government to stop the MVA from holding its rally in Sambhajinagar,” Mr. Raut alleged.

Mr. Raut further said that the BJP had planned to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha election in an “atmosphere of fear and dread”, after having fomented such riots.

‘Idiotic notion’

“The Gudi Padwa [Marathi new year] festivities passed off without a hitch. But the occasion of Rama Navami was marked by a deliberate disruption of social harmony not just in Maharashtra, but also in Howrah in West Bengal, and Gujarat. This is how the BJP plans to win future elections, create riots, disrupt peace and then ask for votes in an atmosphere of fear,” said the Thackeray camp loyalist.

Mr. Raut further said that he had information that no one from the two groups wanted violence and that the arguments had even been brought under control by the respective community leaders.

“But this government [Shinde-Fadnavis] wanted violence to take place. It supported those who resorted to violence and did not act against these people,” alleged Mr. Raut.

He further said that while the attempt to create riots was successful in some places in the State (Sambhajinagar and Malvani), in many places the people of both religions ensured that there was no untoward incident.

Mr. Raut also said it was a conspiracy on the part of the government to prevent the MVA from holding their rally in Sambhajinagar on April 2— which had now come under a cloud, owing to recent developments.

NCP MP Supriya Sule targeted Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, who is also Home Minister, for the government’s failure to control the clashes in time. said “This incident reflects the failure of the Shinde- Fadnavis government…the Home Minister is responsible if the citizens of the State are running scared,” said Ms. Sule.

Shinde camp MLA Sanjay Shirsat hit back at the MVA. leaders blaming the ruling government for the clashes, remarking that the notion that the government could have sponsored the clashes, was “idiotic”. “Why would we [ruling government] want a riot-like situation to prevail in the State…and that too in Aurangabad which is an industrial zone. We would want investments to flow in, not clashes and riots. The Opposition is talking nonsense,” Mr. Shirsat said.

“This is how the BJP plans to win future elections, create riots, disrupt peace and then ask for votes in an atmosphere of fear”Sanjay Raut, MPShiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) 

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