Policemen try to pacify protesters after the clash at Ramdas Bhatta pandal on Monday evening. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Jamshedpur, Sept. 29: Immersion in the Bistupur area of the steel city was held up for more than three hours last evening following a clash between members of two communities over alleged desecration of an idol.
Though the situation is currently under control, the East Singhbhum district administration has deployed RAF and CRPF personnel to prevent a flare-up. Two people have been arrested in connection with the violence.
DIG, Kolhan, M.K. Mishra, who is camping in the city, said a rumour that some youths from the Muslim-dominated Gwala Bustee had vandalised the Ramdas Bhatta and Contractors Area Puja pandal in Bistupur and desecrated the idol fuelled trouble.
Sources said some five to six youths from the neighbouring bustee had sneaked into the pandal around 4.30pm, but only after the immersion procession had kicked off. They reportedly tore and damaged decorations. When some of the pandal decorators protested, the youths started beating them up. Satbir Singh, a local resident, and some members of the Puja committee, who had returned upon hearing the news, prompted the youths to retreat. But they soon returned with more supporters. Singh sustained injuries and had to be rushed to Tata Main Hospital.
A clash ensued and all immersion processions headed for Subernarekha and Kharkai were stopped at 5.30pm.
Residents claimed that though some policemen were posted near the pandal premises, they chose to look the other way. The situation was brought under control only after senior police officers rushed to the spot.
Local BJP MLA Sarayu Roy and Jamshedpur MP Arjun Munda also reached the spot and demanded immediate arrest of those involved in triggering the violence.
SP Naveen Kumar Singh ordered deployment of forces at the entrance of Gwala Bustee. He said two of the 12 accused in the assault case had been arrested.
When the trouble began, only 40 per cent of the 265 idols in the city had been immersed. The clash held up the ceremonious farewell to the goddess till 8.30pm. Immersion continued till late in the night. Besides Bistupur, policemen were deployed in sensitive areas like Dhatkidih and Mango.
Meanwhile, Ramdas Bhatta and Contractors Area Puja Committee said that residents would wear black badges from tomorrow in protest.