Tuesday, May 30th, 2006, IndiaEnews.com
Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh) – Tension persisted in this communally surcharged town Tuesday with two people being killed in renewed violence despite curfew and authorities ordering the closure of all educational institutions.
Notwithstanding heavy enforcement of curfew, two men were killed in separate incidents Monday night in what was being seen here as a retaliation to the murder of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activist and trader O.P. Lala late Sunday.
‘However, neither of the victims had anything to do with Lala’s killing,’ said Rizwan Ahmad, the zonal inspector general of police who rushed to this town, 370 km from the state capital Lucknow, to help the administration tackle the latest crisis.
‘One of the victims was lynched to death because an irate mob suspected that he was part of a motorcycle gang that was responsible for killing three other BJP activists in separate incidents spread over a fortnight,’ Ahmad told IANS.
The other victim of Monday’s renewed violence was a young, newly married man returning home with his wife.
‘He was intercepted by a band of young man and done to death,’ Ahmad added.
Though they said the situation as ‘well under control now’, the administration is unwilling to take chances and has closed all educational institutions, including private ones.
Even those scheduled to reopen on June 1 have been told to remain shut till further orders.
‘We have made additional police deployments and do not propose to relax the curfew for sometime; after all, we cannot take any chances,’ remarked District Magistrate Anil Sagar.
Violence broke out Sunday night as soon as word spread that Lala had been shot dead. ‘Bands of BJP activists gathered in large numbers and began to target Muslim dominated localities, sparking off widespread violence in several places,’ said Aligarh senior superintendent of police Akhil Kumar.
The local BJP is of the view that Lala’s killing was in line with the killing other party workers.
Said a local BJP leader: ‘Some members of the rival community have been systematically targeting BJP leaders, three of whom have been killed in recent days.’
He described the killing of Lala, who owned a leading soft drink and snack food agency, as part of the ’same design’.
Sources here said all the BJP leaders killed were involved in the sectarian violence that broke out early April in which six people died and dozens injured.