The Jharkhand police have arrested 55 people, including a local BJP leader, in connection with the clashes that broke out between members of two communities in Jamshedpur on April 8 and April 9 over the alleged desecration of a religious flag.
Shops, vehicles were set on fire during the clashes. Incidents of property damage and stone-pelting were reported on the night of April 9 from the Shastri Nagar and Kadma areas in the city, following which the district administration imposed Section 144 of the CrPC and also suspended Internet services.
“A large posse of police personnel was deployed and intense patrolling was done in the violence-hit areas. A total of 55 people from both communities were arrested,” K. Vijay Shankar, City Superintendent of Police, Jamshedpur, said.
Abhay Singh, a local BJP leader, was taken into custody, the police said.
Communal tension broke out on April 8 after a Ram Navami flag was allegedly found near a temple in the Shastri Nagar area with pieces of meat in it. The next day, members of a particular community held protests and demanded police action against the accused within 24 hours.
Local residents said a temple committee meeting was held on April 9 evening when over 100 people, most of them with their faces covered, reached the spot and started throwing stones at the committee members.
Later, heavy stone-throwing took place from both sides, following which over half a dozen small shops and some vehicles were set ablaze.
The police reached the spot with Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel and used tear gas to disperse the miscreants.
“Currently the situation is tense but under control,” Mr. Shankar said. “We’ve registered an FIR and have arrested some people,” said Kadma police station in-charge Gaurav Kumar.
However, local people said the police did not act on time even though tension between the groups was simmering from Saturday night.
Jharkhand Director-General of Police Ajay Singh said, “If there has been any negligence even by the police, the matter will be investigated”.
“Some anti social elements tried to disturb the peace in the area. We sought cooperation from local citizens to foil their plot and keeping a close vigil on the situation with adequate number of police deployment,” said East Singhbhum District Deputy Commissioner Vijaya Jadhav.
The members of the minority community appealed to Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren to take strict action against the perpetrators.
A peace committee comprising members of both communities has been formed. It has appealed to people to restore peace and harmony in the affected areas.