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Assam: Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan celebration by Bajrang Dal attacked by Muslim locals, curfew imposed

According to reports, at least 12 Bajrang Dal activists were injured and several bikes and a four-wheeler belonging to them were burnt in the clash which broke out yesterday in Sonitpur district in Assam. Sonitpur Deputy Commissioner’s vehicle was also reportedly damaged in the clash.

An indefinite curfew has been imposed and prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC has been promulgated in areas falling under the jurisdiction of Thelamara and Dhekiajuli police stations in Sonitpur district of Assam. The curfew has been imposed from 10 PM of August 5 (Wednesday), after several people were injured in a clash between two communities over Ram temple Bhoomi Pujan celebration on Wednesday.

According to reports, at least 12 Bajrang Dal activists were injured and several bikes and a four-wheeler belonging to them were burnt in the clash. Sonitpur Deputy Commissioner (DC) Manavendra Pratap Singh’s vehicle was also reportedly damaged in the clash.

Locals from other community objected to Bajrang Dal activists’ celebratory rally

Tensions gripped the district in Assam after a group of people attacked Bajrang Dal activists who organised a bike rally to celebrate the Bhoomi Pujan ceremony of Ayodhya’s Ram Mandir. The incident happened when Bajrang Dal activists, who were heading towards a Lord Shiva temple in Bhora Singori in the Thelamara police station area, were intercepted by a group of people belonging to the Muslim community. The Muslim locals allegedly objected to the Bajrang Dal activists raising Jai Shriram slogans and playing music. This resulted in a heated exchange of argument between the two groups which soon culminated into a clash.

According to a senior police official, “locals objected to the group playing loud music in their area. They also asked why the rally was organised when the people were fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. This led to arguments, which eventually turned ugly and a clash started.”

Additional force deployed, section 144 imposed in Sonitpur, Assam

Sonitpur district’s Deputy Commissioner Manvendra Pratap Singh who arrived at the spot to control the situation was also reportedly attacked by the two groups. “To control the situation, which turned into a communal clash, police first lathi-charged and then fired in the air. We have deployed additional forces after many bikes and other vehicles were burnt,” Singh said.

In his order, Singh cited “grave law and order situation” as the reason to impose the curfew and also said that prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed in Sonitpur district in areas falling under Thelamara and Dhekiajuli PS.

While addressing the media later in the evening, the deputy commissioner said: “Situation is under control as of now.”

Meanwhile, District Magistrate Keerthi Jalli said Section 144 has been imposed to prevent extremist elements from crossing over to Cachar from Bangladesh to create law and order problem.

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