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1 each killed in J'khand, Guj; curfew in MP town

Bhopal/Ahmedabad/Ranchi: Violence marred Ram Navami celebrations in parts of the country, with one person killed and 12 others injured at Lohardaga in Jharkhand, while a curfew was clamped following stone-pelting and arson in Madhya Pradesh's Khargone city, where more than 80 people have been arrested, officials said on Monday.

One person was also killed in clashes at Khambhat in Gujarat's Anand district on Sunday and authorities in different states said the situation in the violence-affected areas was under control, while in Madhya Pradesh, the administration launched a demolition drive against "illegal" structures of miscreants who pelted stones at a Ram Navami procession in Khargone.

Khargone's Superintendent of Police Siddharth Choudhary received bullet injury and at least 24 others, including six policemen, were also injured in the arson on Sunday during the festival which marks the birthday of Lord Ram, the officials said.

In Gujarat, police arrested nine people for violence and stone-pelting during a Ram Navami procession at Khambhat, while CrPC Section 144 was imposed in Himmatnagar town of Sabarkantha district, banning the gathering of people, following a similar incident there.

A stone-pelting incident was also reported during a Ram Navami procession in Sendhwa town of MP's Barwani district where a police station in-charge and five others were injured. The situation was later brought under control, according to officials.

The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) alleged minority community leaders and Left liberals are to be blamed for "attacks" across the country on people celebrating Ram Navami and cautioned them against leading their followers on the path of violence.

In a video message, VHP joint general secretary Surendra Jain termed the violence in MP, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi as "unfortunate" and said it is everybody's responsibility to ensure such incidents do not happen.

In Jharkhand's Lohardaga, one person died and 12 people suffered injuries following clashes between members of two communities near Hirhi village on Sunday evening after a group of miscreants pelted a Ram Navami procession with stones, district officials said.

Internet services have been suspended in Lohardaga town and prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC imposed in the entire district, Sub-divisional Officer Arbind Kumar Lal said.

Ten motorbikes and a pick-up van were set on fire during the violence, the officials said.

In Khargone city, police fired tear gas shells to control the situation and a curfew was clamped in the city on Sunday evening.

The Khargone administration on Monday started demolition of at least 50 "illegal" structures of people accused of pelting stones at the Ram Navami procession in the city.

The government has a zero-tolerance policy for rioting. So far, 84 persons have been arrested and 50 illegal constructions of these accused have been identified. The demolition of these illegal constructions has already started, Indore Divisional Commissioner Pawan Sharma told reporters in Khargone.

The illegal structures which are being demolished include homes and shops.

Action has also been taken against four state government employees for spreading rumours over the communal violence in the city, Sharma said.

Inspector General (IG) Rakesh Gupta, who is camping in Khargone along with Sharma, said the law and order situation in the city was under control and action against anti-social elements was continuing.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said damage caused to public and private properties will be recovered from rioters as he vowed strict action against the miscreants.

"The rioters have been identified and they will not be spared. Strict action will be taken against them. There is no place for rioters in Madhya Pradesh," the CM said.

Madhya Pradesh Home minister Narottam Mishra said houses from where stones were hurled at the procession in Khargone will be turned into rubble.

Some people who are hurt by the outcome of the recently-held Assembly elections in five states are now instigating violence, Mishra claimed.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh blamed the police and the local administration for the violence in Khargone even as his party's Madhya Pradesh unit announced the setting up of a "fact-finding" panel to probe the arson and stone-pelting in the city.

The incident in Khargone is unfortunate but the police were not prepared. The administration also paid no attention. The police and administration are responsible for this incident. A thorough investigation should be done, Singh told reporters in Gwalior. In Gujarat's Khambhat town, the situation is under control after the violence and stone-pelting during Ram Navami celebrations. "The situation in Khambhat town is under control. We have already arrested nine suspects and started further investigation," Anand district Superintendent of Police Ajit Rajian said. With agency inputs

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