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Police to probe clip on Aurangabad riots

People dousing fire on the street after the clashes between two groups in Aurangabad.

People dousing fire on the street after the clashes between two groups in Aurangabad.   | Photo Credit: Yogesh Londhe

In the aftermath of the Aurangabad riots, city police has ordered a probe after a clip allegedly demonstrating the “involvement” of some local police personnel with the rioters surfaced after the clashes.

According to sources, the eight-minute long video purportedly recorded by onlookers, show the policemen to be mute spectators, “walking” with the rioters and permitting them to indulge in their vandalism spree as they smash and torch parked vehicles.

In the clip, the rioters after wrecking several vehicles, are seen setting a shop ablaze in the city’s sensitive Nawabpura area.

“We are probing this issue and have taken the footage very seriously. The guilty parties — be it policemen or rioters — will be punished,” said acting Aurangabad Commissioner of Police Milind Bharambe on Monday.

At least two persons lost their lives, while more than 35, including several policemen, were seriously injured after violent clashes between two groups erupted over illegal water connections on Friday last week, heightening communal tensions across the city.

Additional DGP (law and order) Bipin Bihari too promised a stern probe into the affair.

Internet suspended

An uneasy calm prevailed over Aurangabad the weekend after the riots, with authorities clamping Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (prohibiting an assembly of more than four persons in an area) and suspending internet services to stall further violence.

Speaking in Nashik on Monday, Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar categorically charged the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government for stoking caste and communal tensions and being responsible for the clashes.

“Be it Bhima-Koregaon or Aurangabad, the BJP government is responsible for the heightening social tensions across Maharashtra. Why is the Police Commissioner’s post lying vacant for more than two months in a communally sensitive city like Aurangabad?” said the NCP leader, alleging that the scope of the riot indicated that it was a “pre-planned conspiracy”.

Call for compensation

Mr. Pawar further demanded immediate compensation for those afflicted by the violence.

The damage to property during the riots, which raged on for more than 12 hours on the intervening night of May 11-12, has been estimated at more than ₹100 crore.

Scores of small shops in the Nawabpura, Moti Karanja and Raja Bazaar areas were gutted by the rioters as the clashes gradually took on a communal colour.

Senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, who toured the ravaged city on Sunday, too accused the police of merely “standing by” as the rioters ran amok.

“What was the intelligence arm of the police doing? The senior police authorities have acted in an extremely negligent fashion, just as they did during the Bhima-Koregaon riots,” said Mr. Vikhe-Patil, who is the leader of opposition (LoP) in the Legislative Assembly.

At least 10 policemen, including Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Govardhan Kolekar and Kranti Chowk Police Station in-charge, Inspector Shrikant Paropkari were injured in the clashes.

Mr. Kolekar, who suffered serious injuries on his neck during stone-pelting, was airlifted to Mumbai on Monday for further treatment. He is said to be in a critical condition.

More than 50 persons have been detained by the police in connection with the riots so far, said authorities.

The city has been without a full-time Police Commissioner for the past two months, since Yashasvi Yadav was sent on compulsory leave by Mr. Fadnavis for alleged mishandling of the city’s garbage crisis.

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 4:28:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/police-to-probe-clip-on-aurangabad-riots/article23885347.ece

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