After MP, local administration in Gujarat demolishes ‘illegal’ kiosks following communal clashes

After a similar action by the Madhya Pradesh government, the local administration in Shakarpur village in Gujarat’s Khambhat on Friday demolished over seven kiosks and carts which allegedly belonged to those who had been arrested for alleged involvement in the communal clashes which took place during a Ram Navami procession a few days ago. One person had died in the clashes.

According to administrative officials in Anand, seven to eight carts and kiosks, which had been built illegally and which encroached upon government land in Shakarpur village, were razed by the team of SDM (Khambhat) Nirupa Gadhvi under the watch of the local police on Friday. afternoon, amid a tense atmosphere.

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Shakarpur sarpanch Dinesh Patel, the complainant in the communal clashes case, told The Indian Express that the carts and kiosks belonged to some of the 61 accused booked by the police under rioting, conspiracy and attempt to murder charges.

“An administrative team of SDM (Khambhat) and bandobast team of assistant superintendent of police (Khambhat) were present today (Friday) when we removed the encroachment of illegal lari-galla (kiosks and carts) from government land and cleared wild bushes and other. obstacles. The illegal kiosks had been there for some time, ”said Anand district collector MY Daxini.

When asked whether the shops belonged to the accused in the communal clash cases, Daxini said, “Since 61 persons from the village have been booked in the case, some of the shops might belong to them.”

Speaking to The Indian Express, the sarpanch Patel said, “The kiosks used to sell cigarettes and pan masala for some years. All the shops belong to the accused in the riots and one of them, Razzak, is in police custody. They also had encroached government land near the panchayat office. “

Clashes had broken out in Shakarpur village on April 10 during a Ram Navami procession. Amid heavy stone-pelting from both sides, Kanhaiyya Lal Rana (57), a resident of Chatari Bazaar in Khambhat, succumbed to injuries. A report by The Indian Express on Tuesday had mentioned that Rana was not part of the procession, according to his family members and the police, but was returning home after visiting the temple. The police lodged two FIRs in the case, booking 61 people from the village in the first one following a complaint by Patel, and four persons and 1,000 other unknown individuals, who were part of the Ram Navami procession, in the second FIR for attacking those. from the other community.

The police arrested nine people in connection with the first FIR and have claimed that the procession was ambushed under a pre-planned conspiracy by some accused who wanted to ensure that no such ‘yatra’ took place again. The police also claimed that the accused had conspired to present their alibi on the day of the incident and had also collected funds to fight the legal battle if they were arrested.

A day later, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi said in Ahmedabad that the police were framing villagers of Shakarpur as they were performing namaz at the time of the incident. He also demanded that the state government “should not do media trial by selectively leaking stories.”

In Madhya Pradesh, the Khargone district administration had earlier this week carried out a demolition drive, razing 16 houses and 29 shops, after communal clashes erupted during a Ram Navami procession in the region. Later, state home minister Narottam Mishra issued a warning, saying, “The house from which the pathar has come, will be made the pathar of this house. (We will turn the houses from where the stones were pelted to a heap of rubble). “

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