Amravati Violence by BJP-Led Protestors Was Planned A Day in Advance: Police Official

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Photo: Zee News

26 FIRs filed; Former Maharashtra minister Anil Bonde among 60 arrested so far

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – The protesters, who were part of the bandh called by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Amravati on Saturday, burnt and damaged shops and vehicles belonging to Muslims during the violent protest.

“They gathered at Rajkamal Chowk. A section of the crowd turned violent, burnt two shops, damaged some other shops, and burnt vehicles. Almost all the victims are from the minority community. It appears that the violence had been planned a day in advance in retaliation for the violence on Friday by some members of the minority community,” a police official was quoted by Indian Express as saying.

According to the police, they were outnumbered by the massive gathering which was attended by the people belonging to the BJP, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. The protest was being organized against the protest held by Muslim groups on Friday over Tripura’s anti-Muslim violence.

Two shops, three vehicles parked outside a shop were burnt. One vehicle of the shop owner was burnt. One shop and two shrines were also damaged. Nine policemen were also injured and a police vehicle was also damaged.

Feroze Ahmed, whose two-wheeler repair shop was burnt, said that he lost his property worth Rs 8 lakh while the police was watching his shop being burnt. He demanded from the government to pay his losses.

“I started from scratch and put in decades of effort to take a shop on rent to run my own business two years ago. The pandemic had hurt my business, but this mindless rioting has ended everything for me. The police were watching as my shop burnt. I have lost property worth Rs 8 lakh. They also burnt three vehicles of my customers parked in front of my shop. How will I pay for all this and take care of my family? I am the sole breadwinner. I blame politician Pravin Pote for it. I told the police to make him an accused in the case. He was the one who organised the morcha. I want the government to pay for my losses and punish the guilty.” said Ahmed.

Another shop owner, Shadab Khan, whose decade-old shop of repairing electronics items was gutted, said that he had suffered losses during the lockdown. Now, his shop is gone.
“Due to Covid-19 my business was badly affected and I had to let go of five workers. Now that my shop is gone, I have suffered a loss of Rs 13 lakh and lost my life’s earnings. The mob also stole electronic items from my shop,” he said.

Anas Khan, whose shop and house were damaged, expressed his annoyance over the situation he has to face for committing nothing wrong.

“Kuch jahil galat kaam karte hain aur hame bhugatna padta hai (Some stupid people do wrong things and innocents like us are left to suffer). What happened on Friday was wrong and what happened on Saturday was wrong too. I was born and brought up here, and never imagined I would see this day. My college-going children could not sleep at night. My daughter is among the toppers in college. The mob pelted stones at our shop even though we kept our shops shut,” said Khan.

A total of 60 people have been arrested so far in connection with the violence that took place on Friday and Saturday.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the Amaravati police arrested former Maharashtra Minister and BJP leader Dr Anil Bonde along with a few party workers in connection with Saturday’s violence.
The police have registered 15 FIRs with regard to Saturday’s violence at various police stations while 11 FIRs have been registered with Friday’s incidents.
After Saturday’s violence, curfew was imposed for four-days and internet services were suspended for four days to avoid untoward incidents.

According to the Indian Express, despite curfew, some minor incidents of clashes between both communities were reported from Kholapuri gate where stone-pelting took place. On Sunday, the situation remained peaceful as the roads were deserted amid heavy deployment of security forces.

“First Covid-19 and now this petty politics have ruined our business. It’s like another lockdown. Not just us, but everyone, especially the poor, are suffering due to this.” said Ravindra Singh Saluja, president of Amravati Restaurant and Lodging Association.

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