The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Clash over procession path

Hazaribagh, March 14: Members of a club went on the rampage here after clashes broke out between two religious communities, which led shops closing shutters for some hours.

The problem started when members of the Nav Yuvak Dal and later the Jabaanj Club passed through the Jama Masjid Road while taking out the mangla procession, organised every Tuesday four weeks before Ram Navami. Some of the members of the rally, claimed sources, pelted stones on the mosque’s entrance and hit the donation box.

This morning, following the allegation of stone-pelting, hundreds of members of minority community gathered at Jhanda Chowk around 8 am and forced the business establishments around the area to close. Some were injured in the melee. Soon, members of the other community also congregated and started raising slogans.

However, the administrative and police officials reached the spot and pacified the agitators. Two FIRs have been lodged in Sadar police station in this regard.

Superintendent of police Praveen Kumar Singh called members of a peace committee to meet in Sadar police station and talked to both sides to ease the tension.

Sources said mangla processions are not allowed to enter Jama Masjid Road to avoid communal tensions. On the night of Ram Navami, they said, the administration allows the procession to enter the road but amid tight security. After riots in 1989, the administration ensures that proper steps are taken to avoid any unpleasant incident.

Subdivisional officer Ravindra Kumar Singh also reached the spot and assured action against the culprits, which calmed the situation.

The police superintendent had to pacify a group of agitators, who had gathered at Gola Road demanding action against the culprits. After Singh’s assurance, the protesters decided to call off the agitation.

Shops remained closed till afternoon.

The rampage ended another controversy related to Ram Navami celebrations.

Sunil Keshri, the president of Bara Akhara, resigned. On Sunday evening, Keshri and one Amardeep Yadav had obtained a letter from the mahant of Bara Akhara conferring the post of president on the duo. However, Keshri today supported Yadav.

The association is responsible for the peaceful conduct of Ram Navami processions. The president of the association coordinates with the administration and the members of the other clubs — about 150 — that participate in various processions.

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