//3 killed in Muslim dargah demolition clash

3 killed in Muslim dargah demolition clash

CNN-IBN, Monday , May 01, 2006

Vadodara: At least three persons were killed and 18 injured in a clash in Vadodara on Monday.

Curfew has been imposed in the city police station area. Trouble broke out in the Mandvi area at around 1045 hrs, IST, when the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) began demolishing a dargah (shrine), which it says, is an illegally constructed structure.

They demanded that it be declared as a heritage site. However, the VMC went ahead with its demolition plan as it was obstructing traffic, he said. People from two groups started pelting stones and set on fire four shops, police said.

Police fired six rounds and lobbed more than 20 tear gas shells to disperse the mob. Six persons have been injured and admitted to city hospitals, they said. The situation is tense but under control, police added.

Deepak Swarup, Police Commissioner of Vadodara says, "15 days ago anti encroachment drive have started in Vadodara and all things that were coming in the way of the master plan, whether it was any temple or any other religious places, were demolished."

"Today there was a dargah situated in the old city areas. In the morning there was also a meeting with the senior leaders, but somehow they did not agree that the thing should be removed. Today the dargah has been demolished and due to this lot of tension started. To control the situation curfew has been imposed in the city police area."

Police added that people of the minority community had requested the authorities and city mayor Sunil Solanki not to demolish the dargah as it is more than 200 years old and could hurt the feelings of the community.

They demanded that the dargah be declared as a heritage site. However, the VMC squad went ahead with its demolition plans as the structure was obstructing traffic, police said. People from two groups started pelting stones on each other and set on fire four shops, officials said.

With Agency inputs

NCM recommends judicial probe into Vadodara firing    

New Delhi, May 01: The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) today recommended a judicial inquiry into the police firing in Vadodara, saying the protest over the municipal demolition of a centuries-old Mausoleum in the Gujarat city could have been dealt with "tact".

Two people were killed as police opened fire to break up a violent protest over the demolition of a Mausoleum, at Vadodara’s champaner gate area by the city’s municipal authorities. Thirteen people were injured in stone-pelting.

"It (police action) is an instance of excessive use of force in a situation that could have been handled with tact," the NCM said in a statement here.

The religious rights watchdog also rejected claims of city authorities that demolition drive aimed at clearing illegal construction work.

"It stands to reason that a structure that pre-dates a master plan cannot be put to the category of ‘encroachment’. Nor could it be the policy of the government to pull down historical monuments," the NCM said.

The commission recommended the Gujarat government hold a judicial probe into the police action to ascertain whether firing could have been avoided on the protesters.

Also, it called for investigations into designating the city Dargah as an encroachment.

Hitting back at the Congress President, Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee, who steered the LF campaign, said her assessment of the state was "wrong".

The state witnessed development on all fronts during LF rule and that was why the people gave their mandate in favour of the front all these years, he said.

Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee criss-crossed the three districts to single-handedly steer her party’s campaign and project it as the real opposition to the CPI(M)-led Left Front.

BJP, contesting the election in alliance with TC, had requisitioned the service of former Union Minister Shahnawaz Hussain and General Secretary Arun Jaitley for the campaign.

Bureau Report

Cong demands independent probe onto police firing in Vadodara    

New Delhi, May 01: Congress today demanded an independent inquiry into the police firing in Vadodara saying that the past experience about the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat on such issues was "neither encouraging, nor inspiring".

Party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters that an independent inquiry was necessary as the track record of the Modi government was not good and it reflected in the recent appointment of a controversial police officer and Director General of Police.

Singhvi also expressed shock over the terrorist violence at Doda and the killing of an Indian engineer by Taliban in Afghanistan.

Bureau Report