Jaipur: Curfew remained clamped in Karauli in Rajasthan on Sunday while more than a dozen people were arrested and an SIT formed to probe the communal clashes that broke out in the district during a motorcycle rally taken out to celebrate the Hindu new year.
District collector Rajendra Singh Shekhawat said relaxation for two hours will be given on Monday from 8 AM and essential services will be exempted from the curfew.
Incidents of arson and vandalism were reported on Saturday after stones were pelted at the rally when it was passing through a Muslim-dominated locality, according to police.
At least 35 people were injured in the clashes.
Mobile internet remained suspended on Sunday and police said they were examining videos of the violence that have been shared on social media.
In Jaipur, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who held a meeting at his residence to view the situation, directed that criminals be identified at every police station level and strict action taken against them to ensure such incidents are not repeated.
Around 1200 policemen are deployed in Karauli to maintain law and order. The situation is under control, Shekhawat said.
A control room has also been set up. As many as 50 officers of Additional Superintendent of Police and Deputy Superintendent of Police ranks and over five IPS officers are also at the district headquarters, he said.
Relaxation in curfew for the supply of essentials like vegetables and milk will be given on Monday from 8 AM to 10 AM, the Collector said.
Central and Rajasthan government offices, courts, centres of the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education will remain open and essential services will be exempted during the curfew.
DIG Rahul Prakash said that around 30 people were detained and a dozen of them have been arrested.
A special investigation team led by an Additional Superintendent of Police has been formed to probe the incidents,” he said.
The violence has sparked a fresh war of words between the ruling Congress in the state and the BJP.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot alleged that an environment of religious polarisation has been created in the country after the BJP-led NDA came to power at the Centre and blamed it for such incidents.
The atmosphere which has created in the country after the NDA government came to power, I believe that the prime minister himself should appeal to the countrymen that this polarisation in the name of religion and caste is not justified and is not in the interest of the country, he told reporters in Barmer.
On the other hand, BJP state president Satish Poonia, who has blamed the Congress’ “appeasement” politics for the situation, formed a 10-member panel that will visit Karauli and hold talks with all sides.
Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore, BJP’s national secretary Alka Singh Gurjar, state general secretary Madan Dilawar and chief spokesperson and MLA Ramlal Sharma are among the members of the committee, according to a party spokesperson.
Meanwhile, Gehlot reviewed the situation with top officials here.
The chief minister said that the police should be proactive and take precautionary steps to maintain peace so that an incident like Karauli does not occur elsewhere, a release said.
He said steps should be taken for creating an atmosphere of peace among different communities with the help of Community Liaison Groups (CLGs) and for promoting community policing.