The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Quarrel stokes riot embers

Ahmedabad, Nov. 5: The cooling embers of the riots that rocked that city flickered up this morning at Gomtipur. Police had to lob teargas shells to quell stone-pelting mobs as members of both communities fought a pitched battle after a quarrel.

At least three persons were injured and half-a-dozen two-wheelers and three-wheelers were set on fire by the mob at Gomtipur near Sarangpur bridge in the western part of the city. Police described the situation now as “normal”.

Trouble erupted when a local Hindu youth, who was apparently drunk, went to the Muslim owner of a cycle-repair shop to rent a cycle. Since the youth owed the cycle-shop owner some money, he refused and asked him to first repay the debt. A heated argument ensued and both came to blows. The Hindu youth suffered a minor injury on his elbow, police said.

The youth’s family, who lived nearby, raised an alarm. Within minutes, people from both communities began pelting stones at each other. Three persons were injured in the 25-minute exchange.

Once they reached the spot, police failed to control the mob frenzy. The rioting continued and people set fire to five two-wheelers and three-wheelers and a bakery in the presence of the police, a local youth, Anwarbhai Ansari, said. Finally, police brought the situation under control after lobbing 24 teargas shells.

More than 10 persons from both communities have been rounded up. Police forces have been deployed in the area and some restrictions have been imposed.

In another incident, an angry mob torched a private luxury bus in Madhavpura, another sensitive area in the old city, after a 10-year-old boy was crushed to death. As the news spread, a mob gathered there and set the bus alight. Police said the incident was not a communal, but “an accident”.

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