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Dealth toll rises to five, curfew to be relaxed for few hours

Written by: Staff

Vadodara, May 2: The death toll in the riot-hit Vadodara city has risen to five with one more person succumbing to bullet injuries as six police station areas remained curfew-bound for the second day today.

Authorities have however, decided to relax curfew for a couple of hours in Panigate and Raopura police station areas from 1230 hrs to 1430 hrs, and in Wadi and Karelibaug areas from 1500 hrs to 1700 hrs following improvement in the situation.

Talking to UNI today, Police Commissioner Deepak Swaroop said one Mohammad Aspaq Aarab, who was injured in yesterday's police firing near the Champaner gate during the 'dargah' demolition drive by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC), died last night at the SSG civil hospital.

Police sources said Aarab (23), a resident of Wadi Taiwada, was hit on his chest and was brought to the SSG hospital from a private nursing home late in the night after his condition deteriorated.

Earlier in the day yesterday, two people were killed in police firing near the 'dargah' and as many were stabbed to death in separate incidents of mob violence that soon spread all over the communally sensitive walled city areas.

According to police and hospital sources, more than 50 people were injured, 16 of them in police firing, the police lobbed around 120 tear gas shells and opened fire at two places to disperse the crowd which even attacked the Nyaya Mandir (District and Sessions court) and set on fire and damaged about 65 houses, shops and vehicles.

While curfew would be relaxed in Panigate, Raopura, Wadi and Karelibaug this afternoon, Navapur and city police station areas would remain curfew-bound because of the tense situation prevailing there following last nights incidents of stabbing and rioting, Mr Swaroop said.

In separate incidents of violence last night, irate mob attacked Navapura police out-post in which three more people, including one State Reserve Police (SRP) jawan were stabbed.

Police fired 11 rounds after a 500 strong mob attacked the Navapura out-post and stabbed SRP jawan Kirit Chauhan and one Anil Bechar Mali with sharp-edged weapons and also indulged in heavy brickbatting, the sources said.

In another incident, one Abdul Azij Sheikh (45) was stabbed at the Dandia Bazar by the mob.

All the three victims were rushed to the SSG hospital. Incidents of stone pelting and rioting were also reported from Ektanagar, Chipwada, Bharwad Mohallah and Mehboobpura.

Meanwhile, security has been tightened in Yakutpura area to ensure. Peaceful funeral procession of the two youth, Irfan Hussain Dhobi and Mohammad Ayuj Mansoori, who died in yesterday's police firing at the Champaner dargah. As a precautionary measure, Mr Swaroop said, ''A strong contingent of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been deployed there as minority community leaders had decided to take out the funeral procesion of both the victims from Yakutpura today.'' The burial procession could not be taken out yesterday after a group demanded resignation of Vadodara Mayor Sunil Solanki and Mr Swaroop holding them responsible for the violence.

Curfew was imposed in the area after violence broke out during the demolition of a 100-year-old 'dargah' of Rashiduddin Rahimatullah, a Sufi saint.

Additional commissioner of police V M Pargi said around 40 people have been rounded up so far in connection with yesterday's violent incidents in the city.

A massive combing operation would be undertaken only after peaceful conduct of the funeral, he added.

Meanwhile, the authorities of the M S University had postponed examinations scheduled for yesterday and today following imposition of curfew in most parts of the city.

The new examination schedule is expected to be announced today only after the district authorities desides to lift curfew tomorrow, University sources said.


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