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Fresh smoke over affair

Ahmedabad, Jan. 2: Barely 12 hours after the situation was brought under control last night, police had to open fire and lob teargas shells to disperse mobs that clashed again this afternoon, sparking tensions of a fresh flare-up in Lunavada in Panchmahal district, 50 km from Godhra.

The trouble erupted after youths from two communities clashed over an affair between a boy and a girl belonging to different communities, Panchmahal superintendent of police Narsimha Komar said.

Four days ago, two youths had fought over the alleged affair in the Mandvi Bazar area of the town. Just when police thought that the situation was under control, two groups clashed in the Velafali area today, pelted stones and looted shops.

State reserve police have been deployed and an intensive patrolling and combing operation launched to arrest the mischief-mongers, Komar said.

Last night, the two groups had hurled stones at the same locality after setting on fire two small shops and an autorickshaw belonging to a Muslim. The police had to fire five rounds and lob 10 teargas shells to disperse the unruly mobs.

Khaliqbhai, a local resident of Lunavada, however, had a different story to explain the cause of the violence, which is in variance with the police version.

According to him, Hindu youths had made indecent remarks against Muslim women who had gathered at a school in Velafali to get their photo identity cards.

Khaliqbhai added that Muslim youths became furious after members from the “other” community kidnapped a boy who was rescued later. These incidents had sparked the violence, he said.

Curfew was lifted in Dahod town today where six persons were injured in communal clashes on New Year eve. Two youths who were seriously injured and were shifted to the SSG Hospital in Baroda, are said to be out of danger.

Newly-elected BJP legislator from Dahod, Tersinh Damor, met Dahod district collector S.R. Pandor today and asked him to take stern action against those responsible for communal disturbance in the town.

Leaders from the minority community also met Pandor and urged him to deal with miscreants with an iron hand and assured him full cooperation for restoring peace.

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