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Guj admn carelessness responsible for Vadodara riots: Centre

By Staff
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New Delhi, May 2 (UNI) The centre today held the Gujarat government's negligence responsible for the violent clashes in Vadodara, which claimed five lives and injured about 50 yesterday, and asked the State Government to take effective steps to bring the situation under control by pacifying people.

Union Minister for State for Home Shri Prakash Jaiswal, who returned here this morning after visiting the incident site, told reporters that taking into account the seriousness of the situation the State Government should take try to solve it properly so that peoples anger over the demolition of the old Mousoleum could be reduced.

Stating that he was not against anti-encroachment drives, but felt that while undertaking them the administration should always try to ascertain that it should not affect old places of worship as peoples sentiments are generally attached to them. Stressing the need for clear cut definition of such old worship sites, he said the more ancient these sites are, the more peoples sentiments are attached to them.

Mr Jaiswal said that during his talks with the State Administration he learned that the demolished Mousoleum was about 200 to 300 years old which meant that the administration should have been more careful while handling it.

''The violent clashes started due to the negligence of the State Administration and it could have been easliy avoided,'' he obeserved.

Asked whether the Centre has offered more para-military forces to the State Government to bring the situation under control, Mr Jaiswal said that Para-military forces are already in Ahmedabad and the State Government could seek their deployment if it felt necessary.

Meanwhile, curfew has been clamped in six police station areas of Vadodara for the second day today. Two people were killed in police firing near the 'dargah' during the demolition while as many were stabbed to death in separate incidents of mob violence that soon spread all over the communally sensitive walled city areas. One person succumed to bulet injuries in the hospital this morning 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.

UNI AJ SHB DS1413

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