Two persons died and around fifty others, including a dozen policemen, were injured as clashes broke out between two communities in Aurangabad city in central Maharashtra last night, police said.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said this evening that the situation was now under control.
The district administration has clamped prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure banning assembly of people and suspended Internet services, said a senior police official.
One of the deceased was a 17-year-old youth who allegedly died in police firing, while the other was a 65-year-old man who was trapped in his house when an adjoining shop was set on fire by rioters, the official said.
The rioting started in Moti Karanja area around 10 last night and spread to Gandhi Nagar, Raja Bazaar, Shah Ganj and Sarafa areas, forcing police to fire in the air and lob teargas shells, the official added.
Among those injured were seven women and a dozen policemen, including an assistant commissioner of police.
Rioters set fire to around 100 shops and 80 vehicles, the official said, adding that 37 persons have been arrested for rioting and arson since last night.
According to local sources, tension was brewing in Moti Karanja area for the last few days as the municipal corporation was carrying out a drive against illegal water connections.
It got a communal colour when an illegal water connection at a place of worship in the area was removed, sources added.
Speaking to reporters in Pune, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the situation in Aurangabad was under control, and stringent action would be taken against those responsible for the violence.
The violence was fall-out of a minor incident, he said.
Minister of State for Home Ranjit Patil termed the loss of two lives as "very unfortunate".
There was riot-like situation from 10-11 PM yesterday, he said, adding that the clashes erupted over trivial issue of "parking a small vehicle".
People should not circulate rumours on social media, he added.
Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde alleged that the violence reflected a failure of the state intelligence machinery, and demanded a judicial probe into the incident. Appealing for peace, the NCP leader asked police to take local people in confidence while handling the tense situation.
State Congress chief Ashok Chavan said the rioting was unfortunate, and people should foil any attempt to create a communal divide.
The former chief minister also asked why the police didn't take any preventive action.
"Some political parties are trying to instigate communal violence for political benefit," he said.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil demanded that chief minister Fadnavis, who holds the home portfolio, should quit on moral grounds.
"This is a big failure of the state government. Police failed to bring the situation under control. Fadnavis should quit on moral grounds," said the Congress leader.
Incidents in Aurangabad were similar to what happened at Bhima Koregaon (where anti-Dalit violence broke out in January), Vikhe-Patil said.
"Bhima Koregaon violence was state- sponsored. In Aurangabad, had police handled the situation well, it would not have escalated. The city police commissioner's post is vacant," he said.
Aurangabad police commissioner Yashasvi Yadav was sent on compulsory leave in March this year due to his alleged failure to handle a riot-like situation in the city over the garbage disposal issue.Here are the top updates on the Aurangabad violence following a clash between two groups: 1. 2 dead, 30 injured: At least two people died after clashes. The deceased include a 60-year-old man and a minor boy. Apart from that nearly 30 people are injured in clashes. Nearly 11 to 12 policemen have also sustained injuries when the mob attacked the police force. 2.
Internet services suspended in Aurangabad:Internet services suspended in Maharashtra's Aurangabad after clash between two groups last night. 3. Aurangabad police appeal for peace: Aurangabad CP Milind Bharambe said, "I appeal to the citizens to maintain peace, do not take law in your own hands. If one group is pelting stones, the other group is requested to keep calm not respond in kind, the police is doing its duty. Section 144 of the CrPC has been imposed, if group of people are found to be breaking the curfew we will take strict action against them."
4. Asaduddin Owaisi tweets about the incident: Several people took to Twitter to report about the incident including president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and MP Asaduddin Owaisi. “Communal Riot Aurangabad, shops have burned, report of death 1 person due to police firing shops near Shahganj Masjid, Angori Bagh, Nawabpura damaged @CMOMaharashtra should order a probe especially the role Racchu PAHELWAN, send additional forces Peace must prevail,” he tweeted. “I have requested Advocate Khizar Patel to ensure that people whose shops are burned/damaged must give a complaint to concerned PS & get FIR registered, MIM party Will inshallah provide Aid & relief through its MIM relief Trust but request people to maintain peace,” Owaisi added in another tweet.
Aurangabad CP Milind Bharambe appeals for peace. Section 144 of the CrPC imposed in Aurangabad city. Situation has been brought under control. pic.twitter.com/tUJqyEDSnQ— Rashmi Rajput (@RashmiRajput123) May 12, 2018
Communal Riot Aurangabad,shops have burned ,report of death 1 person due to police firing shops near Shahganj Masjid,Angori Bagh ,Nawabpura damaged @CMOMaharashtra should order a probe especially the role Racchu PAHELWAN ,send additional forces Peace must prevail @imtiaz_jaleel— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) May 12, 2018
5. 17-year-old succumbs to injuries: A report in The Times of India said a 17-year old succumbed to bullet injuries at MGM hospital in the city. The deceased was a resident of Rengtipura. Ten policemen, including an assistant commissioner, Govardhan Kolekar, and a couple of police station chiefs, including inspector Hemant Kadam and inspector Shripad Paropkari, were injured in the ensuing violence. 6. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has been apprised of the matter while Minister of State for Home Deepak Kesarkar is rushing to Aurangabad to take stock of the situation, an official said in Mumbai.
I have requested Advocate Khizar Patel to ensure that people whose shops are burned/damaged must give a complaint to concerned PS & get FIR registered ,MIM party Will inshallah provide Aid & relief through its MIM relief Trust but request people to maintain peace— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) May 12, 2018