Curfew remains in force in Jodhpur; 97 arrested after communal clashes
Jodhpur, May 4: As many as 97 people have been arrested so far in connection with communal clashes over hoisting of a flag before Eid in Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's constituency Jodhpur where curfew continued in 10 police station areas for the second consecutive day on Wednesday.
The situation is under control and no fresh incident of violence has been reported, police said.
Nearly 1000 policemen have been deployed to maintain law and order.
The Jodhpur deputy commissioner of police had issued orders imposing a curfew besides suspending mobile internet services
Gehlot, who on Tuesday appealed to the people to maintain peace and harmony, has sent two ministers Rajendra Yadav and Subhash Garg, ACS home Abhay Kumar and ADG Law and Order Hawa Singh Ghumaria to Jodhpur.
Tensions broke out past Monday midnight over putting up of Islamic flags on the Jalori gate circle here, which led to stone pelting in which five policemen were injured.
The situation was brought under control in the early hours on Tuesday with heavy deployment of police but tensions escalated again in the morning after prayers at an Eidgah.
Shops, vehicles and houses were pelted with stones near the Jalori gate area.Members of a minority community were installing Eid flags and they put up a flag on a roundabout alongside the statue of freedom fighter Balmukund Bissa.
This led to a confrontation as members belonging to another community alleged that a saffron flag, which they had put up there ahead of Parshuram Jayanti, had gone missing.
The issue led to stone pelting and clashes, officials said.
Police had to lob tear gas shells to disperse the mob. The clashes triggered a war of words between Gehlot and the BJP.
Talking to news channels, Gehlot had charged that it was the agenda of the BJP to defame him. "It is their job to incite Hindu-Muslim riots. How long can you do politics in the name of polarisation? This country belongs to all religions, all castes and PM Narendra Modi and central government also have to understand this," he said.
The BJP, on its part, targeted the state government over law and order.
Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat claimed that police are working under pressure.
Shekhawat threatened that he, along with other party leaders, will sit on a dharna at the Jalori gate circle if the rioters are not arrested.
"One man was stabbed and is struggling for life in hospital. The miscreants also insulted women and broke the leg of a minor girl. They also tried to damage a temple in the Sunaro Ka Baas area," he alleged.
BJP state president Satish Poonia said, "Putting up an Islamic flag on the statue of freedom fighter Balmukund Bissa by anti-social elements and removing saffron flags put up on Parshuram Jayanti is condemnable."
He appealed to the people to maintain peace and demanded that the state government establish the "rule of law".
"A saffron flag was replaced with an Islamic flag at the statue of Bissaji last night and sabotage happened. It is proven from the incident of Karauli that such incidents are happening under the patronage of the state government," Poonia said in a video statement.