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Friday 5 June 2020

Lohardaga quieter amid sporadic defiance of curfew

Incidents of violence have been reported from Ningni Kumba Toli, Kutamu, Powerganj Chowk, Durgabari, Hatia Mohalla, Koiri Mohalla, Railway Siding and Barwatoli of the town

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In Lohardaga, curfew was imposed on a rally in support of CAA and NRC on Thursday was attacked by stone-pelters and arsonists from the minority community. However, on Friday, groups came to blows with each other in some places of the town, defying the curfew.

Two of the troubled zones were Ningni Kumba Toli and Kutamu of Lohardaga. The police, who reached the spot in no time, warned both sides and dispersed the crowd.

The activists on both sides made war cries at 9 o’clock on Friday. There was panic in other areas, including Powerganj Chowk, Durgabari, Hatia Mohalla, Koiri Mohalla and Railway Siding among the urban areas.

A truck loaded with timber at Barwatoli was set on fire at 9.30 PM.

The police kept advising people to exercise restraint. The cops chased away miscreants from many places.

All schools and colleges in the district remained closed on Friday. Government offices, banks, shops, entire markets and private establishments remained closed. There was silence on most of the streets.

 Riot police deployed in Lohardaga
Riot police deployed in Lohardaga

As a precaution, a large number of policemen are monitoring the blocks. Railways cancelled trains running from Lohardaga or diverted the routes. This incident has had an impact on Gumla and Latehar districts. Bishunpur and Ghaghra blocks were completely shut. Latehar is seeing heightened security measures by the administration.

On 2 February, another rally like yesterday’s was to be held here in support of the CAA and NRC, but the administration has not allowed it.

IG Navin Kumar Singh and Saket Singh reached Lohardaga on Friday. Both are monitoring the situation. The IG said the incident in Lohardaga was unfortunate. “However, there is an atmosphere of peace right now and the situation is under control. Section 144 and curfew are applicable in the district.”

All areas of Lohardaga are under police surveillance. The IG assured that soon life will be normal in the district. He appealed to the people to follow the law and not pay attention to any kind of rumour. IG Navin Kumar Singh said that police are gathering information from CCTV footage and video footage, and marking the culprits.

“Certainly, strict action will be taken against the culprits involved in this incident,” Singh said.

The administration has deployed 12 deputy superintendents of police in Lohardaga. It has called a large number of police personnel from other districts. District collectors and SPs are constantly monitoring the respective areas under their jurisdiction. Police forces have been deployed along with magistrates at the intersections and sensitive places. The administration has made strong security arrangements in rural areas.

The riot in Lohardaga

On Thursday, some Hindutva groups had organised a rally was at the Lalit Narayan Stadium in Lohardaga at 11:00 PM in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Citizenship Register (NRC). Before the procession could reach the Collectorate Ground via the main road of the city, a mob emerging from a ghetto near a mosque attacked the CAA supporters at Amlatoli at 11:30 AM. This, despite the fact that the deputy commissioner of police and the SP of the region were moving with this rally.

The Muslim mob hurled bricks and stones at the people in the rally. The miscreants threw a petrol bomb at the rally, causing panic. Then the mob set many vehicles on fire.

Police fired tear gas shells on the miscreants. As the situation deteriorated, the police had to fire about 100 rounds in the air. First Section 144 and then curfew was imposed on the town. Yet, groups of Muslim men damaged properties, especially shops, wherever the police presence was negligible. It is quieter today amid reports of sporadic incidents of violence in Lohardaga.

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