Army likely to be withdrawn soon from Vadodara
Vadodara, May 5: Curfew continued in six police station areas here today even as authorities indicated that the Army deployed in the riot-hit Vadodara city is likely to be withdrawn soon as the ''situation is under control''.
Hinting about the possible withdrawal of the Army, Police Commissioner Deepak Swaroop today told sources that a decision with regard to the Army withdrawal would be taken by this evening.
According to police, barring one incident of stabbing of a 65-year-old man in the Navapura area last night, Vadodara had remained by and large peaceful during the last 24 hours as the Army, RAF, SRP and CRPF forces continued to keep a close vigil in the sensitive areas by conducting flag marches and round-the-clock patrolling.
A group of miscreants last night stabbed one Bachubhai Mali (65) when he was asleep outside his Mali Mohalla residence under Navapura police station. The incident led to stone pelting between members of the two communities but the police intervened immediately and prevented a major clash.
The injured was rushed to the SSG hospital.
Meanwhile, curfew was relaxed for three hours from 0900 hrs to 1200 hrs only for women and children in the worst-hit police station limits of Navapura, City and Wadi to enable them to buy essential items which were also being sold through fair price shops. A similar relaxation was granted from 1430 hrs to 1730 hrs for women and children of Panigate, Raopura and Karelibaug.
According to fire brigade sources, a major fire broke out in an oil depot of one ''Gulf Agency Oil'' company located in the riot-hit Ajwa road last night. Half-a-dozen fire tenders fought for nearly five hours to put out the blaze.
Panigate police is investigating the cause of the fire.
Stating that combing operation was on for all major cases of violence the police chief said about 230 people had been arrested for their alleged involvement in rioting. Besides, scores of people had been put behind bars for violating curfew. Regarding the killing of 35-year-old Mohammad Rafiq Vora on the night of May two, Assistant Police Commissioner Raj Pargi said all the 12 accused named in the FIR lodged by the deceased's brother Haji Vora, were absconding. Police had conducted several raids on their possible hideouts, but it seems that they have fled from Vadodara, he added.
A mob of about 1,000 people, who went on a rampage near Mahavir char-rashta on the Ajwa road, allegedly set Rafiq on fire. The victim had died on the spot.
The ACP said though some people were rounded up for questioning, no one had been arrested in this connection so far.
Police have registered a case of murder and rioting against the 12 accused and the mob, and awaiting for the final autopsy report.
According to police sources, security had been further tightened today in the sensitive areas in view of the Friday prayers.