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Centre accepts Modi request for army deploy

By Staff
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New Delhi, May 3: The Centre tonight announced deployment of army in the riot-hit Vadodara and communally sensitive Ahmedabad for immediate restoration of normalcy and communal harmony.

At least 9 to 10 companies of army columns will assist the Gujarat government in its efforts to contain violence and riots sparked by the demolition of a dargah in Vadodara on Monday, Home Secretary V K Duggal told mediapersons here.

In addition, the Centre has despatched an additional 7 companies of paramilitary forces, taking the total number to 13 companies from the Rapid Action Force and the CRPF. Out of the 13 companies, nine will be deployed in Vadodara and four in Ahmedabad.

The move followed a review meeting held by Home Minister Shivraj Patil with Defence and Home Secretaries and the Chief of the Army Staff in the wake of fear that the disturbances may escalate.

Mr Duggal said a few companies of army and four companies of paramilitary forces are being kept as stand-by.

He said a total of 75 people were arrested in connection with the violent incidents in which six people were killed since Monday. "The total number will go up if preventive arrests are also accounted for," he added.

"The situation continues to be tense but under control," Mr Duggal said, while pointing out that the meeting felt the need for containing the situation quickly and immediately.

He said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi talked to Mr Patil and sought help from the army to restore normalcy. He said the Union Home MInistry has sought a detailed report on the violent incidents in the past three days. While tracing the genesis of the violence that broke out on Monday during the demolition of a 300-year-old dargah of Radhiduddin Rehmatullah Chishti by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC), Mr Duggal said the Home Ministry had sought a detailed report on the violence. "We would like to know why the police had resorted to firing while removing encroachments." "We expect that the Gujarat government will send the report by tonight." Mr Duggal said there were only two minor incidents in Vadodara today.

Talking to mediapersons earlier in the day, Mr Duggal said "the situation has gone somewhat beyond control and both the state and centre are trying to get peace back in Vadodara." Mr Duggal said an anti-encroachment drive had started as a law and order problem and it had now taken the shape of communal violence with the authorities bulldozing the dargah without the consent of the Muslim community.

Replying to a question, he said the next 48 hours were very important for the state to maintain peace in the problem areas. In this context, he cited that curfew still continues in areas coming under six police stations.

Asked if the Centre was satisfied with the way the Narendra Modi government responded to the situation, Mr Duggal said he did not have any reason to think that the officials had not done their job.

''But the government would go deep into the violence. " "We would find out which officials did not do their job appropriately." He said though the administration had brought the situation under control and no incident of violence had been reported since this morning, the city continued to be very tense.

Mr Duggal said the situation in Ahmedabad was also tense in the wake of violence in Vadodara.

"Both these cities are communally sensitive and have past records of communal violence," Mr Duggal said.

UNI

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