Vadodara, Sept. 20 (PTI): Three people were killed — one in police firing and two in stabbing — as communal violence broke out afresh in the city today while a procession was on its way to immerse a Ganesh idol.
The clashes erupted on the eve of the third phase of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s Gaurav Yatra. The third leg, which commences tomorrow, will cover Valsad, Navsari and Surat.
The police opened fire on two clashing groups in the sensitive Fathepura locality of Vadodara, killing one person. Two others were stabbed to death and 27 injured, city police commissioner D.D. Tuteja said.
Trouble broke out when people coming out of a mosque after Friday prayers and those taking part in the immersion procession hurled stones and acid bottles at each other.
Tuteja said the police opened fire and lobbed a dozen teargas shells to scare away the rampaging mob.
As many as 38 people were arrested in connection with the incident, Tuteja said. He added that the situation was under control. The minority community was observing a “janata curfew” when the procession passed through the area.
Violence was reported also from Panigate, Yakutpura, Machhipith and Raopura in the city. Unidentified persons threw stones at the immersion procession in the Raopura area, the police said.
In New Delhi, the Congress, which has been opposing the Gaurav Yatra, said Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would be “personally” responsible for the consequences of Modi’s “inflammatory anti-minority speeches”.
“Vajpayee is the Prime Minister. We will hold him personally and directly responsible for whatever is happening in Gujarat,” Congress spokesman S. Jaipal Reddy said.