Muslims riot to stop Navrathri celebrations at Thane

published on September 30, 2008

One killed, 50 injured in Thane clashes over Navratri pandal

THANE: One person was killed and more than 50 were injured in communal clashes which broke out at Rabodi here over setting up of a ‘pandal’ for the Navaratra festival around midnight, police said.

There was a dispute over the issue of erecting a pandal for the festival beginning on Tuesday in the locality neighbouring Mumbai, they said.

Members of a particular community alleged that the pandal encroached over their area. The local mandal (group), organising the event, however, insisted that the pandal would be put up as per last year’s specifications resulting in the clashes, police said.

Police fired 10 rounds in the air to control the mob, which indulged in arson and looting, after baton charge failed to deter them.

Curfew has been clamped in the trouble-torn area, where vehicles and houses were targeted by the mob.

Meetings between members of the two communities were being held since the last two days with the Deputy Commissioner of Police to resolve the dispute but there was no agreement, police said.

Another meeting was held last night in which the issue was discussed again. However, around midnight clashes broke out involving members of the two communities, they said.

Senior police officers, including Police Commissioner Anil Dhere, are camping in the area, where personnel from Rapid Action Force and State Reserve Police Force have been deployed.

Of the injured in the clashes, three are journalists, two Home Guards and some policemen, police said.

Weapons like swords were used in the clashes and even media persons were not spared, they said.

Manoj Singh, a cameraman with a local news channel, was among the injured, they added.

Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil and Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi visited the locality to take stock of the situation.

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