The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cops on road for peace

Hazaribagh, Sept. 1: Tension between two communities over a plot here today led to the deployment of RAF and police personnel in sensitive areas.

Till late evening, senior police officers and officials of the district administration were involved in a meeting with leaders of both the communities to ensure peace.

Deputy superintendent of police Naushad Alam said police had been deployed at six places. “Elderly members of both the communities have been assigned the task of ensuring peace. We have told them to give us the names of all those who are involved in creating mayhem,” he added.

Late last evening, tension over a plot here had culminated into arson and three bomb explosions, despite police deployment. The bombs had exploded in Okni around 9.30pm.

The house that was looted and set ablaze belongs to PWD employee Rajkumar Paswan. He and his family fled, claiming they were asked to vacate.

Paswan’s house is near the land that has caused the controversy. The plot had four stone structures that were being worshipped. Passage to the plot was through area dominated by the minority community members.

On August 28, some members of the majority community had visited the plot to worship, like in the previous years. But some members of a minority community opposed the practice.

After a complaint, the police had intervened and uprooted the stones. The ensuing anger of the majority community led to a gherao of the police station. Later, the stones were replaced on the plot, which belongs to the electricity department.

Residents of the area said the police action of removing the stones sparked the communal tension.

Yesterday, after the blasts, members from both the communities had assembled at Lohsigna Chowk. Deputy inspector-general of police (North Chhotanagpur) Ajay Kumar and superintendent of police Praveen Kumar Singh had tried to pacify them. The groups’ face off ended with slogans being raised and a large number of policemen standing between them. Seven elderly persons from both sides were called in and after an hour of talks, around 1am, it was decided to disperse the crowd and ease tension.

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