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Flag march, peace appeal in Chanho

Ranchi, Aug. 2: Chanho block in Ranchi district, which is still nursing the wounds of the death of a villager in a clash on Id, is slowly limping back to normalcy under the watchful eyes of district administration, police and some local personalities.

In the past 24 hours, there was no report of violence from anywhere at Shilagain village, the epicentre of the July 29 inter-community clash that left one dead and 39 injured.

This morning, local police conducted a flag march in the block, which is about 40km from the state capital, to build confidence among people.

Around 300 constables of Rapid Armed Police, CRPF and Jharkhand Armed Police jawans, equipped with rapid intervention vehicles, Insas rifles, ambulances and fire tenders, participated in the march that started from Chanho police station at 11.30am.

The men in uniform covered a distance of around 80km on vehicles, going till Bero via Shilagain and Itki to tour more than 60 villages.

SP (rural) S.K. Jha, who led the march, said: “This is the first time that such a march was organised in the area to give a sense of security to the local people, who have been terrified by the July 29 incident.”

SDO Amit Kumar added that a peace march would be also organised in the area within a day or two.

“After yesterday’s peace meeting, the situation appears peaceful at the block as of now,” said officer-in-charge of Chanho police station Ram Avatar.

A handful of residents, with considerable sway in the locality, are also pitching in for the peace mission.

One of them, Mahmood Alam Kashmi (79), made an appeal to the people today to make efforts to go back to the days of brotherhood for which Chanho was once famous.

“Since 1946-47, the country has witnessed communal violence almost everywhere, but Chanho remained the exception. For the first time, an inter-community clash took place in Chanho on July 29 due to the interference of outsiders. Whatever happened on July 29 was wrong and those responsible for the incident must be punished. But at the same time one should remember that innocent people should not be victimised. The locality’s popular saying — ‘Jolha-Kolha Bhai Bhai’ meaning tribal and Mohammedans are brothers — should be implemented in letter and spirit,” he said.

Adil Azim, a Zila Parishad member, echoed similar thoughts. “We will leave no stone unturned to bring normalcy in the area and are trying to build confidence among the people who have been divided on communal lines after the Shilagain incident. We are sure that those who provoked the violence were outsiders. They should be identified and punished but innocent people should not be implicated in the case,” Azim said.

Ramdeni Bhagat, an influential figure of Shilagain, believes that it will take some time to restore the faith of the people as no one will forget that innocent villagers were attacked in the presence of district officials.

On July 29, Id prayers performed by some 40 people at a common plot provoked a war of words between them and the tribals, finally culminating in a 5,000-strong mob of the minority community attacking villagers at Shilagain. Farmer Dashrath Oraon was fatally hit on the head, prompting flare-ups in the next few days.


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