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Over 50 hooligans involved in rioting in Khambhat held: Police

Anand: Over 50 hooligans involved in rioting in and around the communally sensitive central Gujarat town of Khambat have been arrested, Inspector Genral of Police A K Jadeja today said.

Notably, incidents of arson in houses and vehicles and looting have happened in various areas of the town and in nearby villages like Akbarpur since Sunday last.

IGP Jadeja today said that a total of five cases have so far been lodged in this connection and more than 50 of the rioters have been arrested. This number would go up as the combing to arrest others was on.

He said that the Khambhat town and the areas around were communally sensitive since long due to a mix of Hindu and Muslim population. On Sunday last in various areas incidents of arson, stone-pelting etc happened and police had to resort to baton charge and pellet and tear gas firing to disperse the mob. An SOG police jawan was also attacked by the rioters.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Home Pradipsinh Jadeja today said that Disturbed Area Act would be implemented in Khambhat as demanded by local people. Congress and other anti social elements were trying to conspire to disturb the communal fiber of the town. CCTV footage of the incidents of violence were being collected and strict action would be taken against those involved in it.

Notably, the incidents of violence had taken place in areas like Akbarpur, Lal Darwaza, Bhavsarvad, Tilakpur etc. Today during a badh called in the town by various Hindu organization against the violence, incidents of attempt to arson and stone pelting also took place. A large number of people had assembled near Gwara tower in the town in support of the bandh. They said that due to the changed demographic balance in the town, people of Muslim community were trying to intimidate away minority Hindus from their areas.

The state government today transferred Anand SP Makrand Chauhan and Khambhat DySP Reema Munshi in the wake of the violence and they have been kept under waiting for next posting. The local Police Inspector has also been removed from his post.

CM Vijay Rupani said that the Disturbed Area Act would be implemented in Khambhat and the notification in this regard would be issued soon. Under this act apart from other things, sale and purchase of property in the area could be done only after getting permission from the competent authorities. He said that the incidents of violence would not be tolerated in any case. The senior police officials have been instructed to deal strictly with the rioters.

Meanwhile, DGP Shivanand Jha, Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) Chief Himanshu Shukla have also visited the town where 2 companies of RAF and 5 of SRP apart from a large contingent of police from neighbouring Kheda and Ahmedabad districts have been deployed. Shukla told newsmen that he was there to help the local police maintain the law and order and foil the nefarious design of the anti social elements.