Ram Navami was celebrated across the country on Thursday with grand processions and special pujas, but the festivities were marred by a tragedy in Madhya Pradesh where 11 devotees died after falling into a well at a temple. Besides, a clash in Maharashtra left 12 people injured.
In Delhi, a large number of people defied a police order and took out a procession in Jahangirpuri, which witnessed riots last year during Hanuman Jayanti celebrations, while stones were pelted at a march in Gujarat’s Vadodara too.
Ten women and a man died after the roof of a well collapsed during a havan, a fire ritual, at Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal temple in Indore’s Patel Nagar, a senior official said.
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Nearly 30-35 devotees fell into the well, Indore Police Commissioner Makrand Deoskar said, citing eyewitness accounts. An eyewitness said the roof of the well caved-in as a huge crowd of devotees gathered on it.
10 cops hurt in Maha
In Aurangabad city of neighbouring Maharashtra, at least 12 people, including 10 policemen, were injured after a mob of around 500 people went berserk and hurled stones and petrol-filled bottles when the personnel tried to control the situation following a clash between two groups near a Ram temple, officials said on Thursday.
The incident, in which 13 vehicles were torched by the miscreants, occurred during the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday in the city’s Kiradpura locality that houses the famous Ram temple, they said.
The police used tear gas and fired some plastic bullets as well as live rounds to control the mob, the officials said. Eight teams have been formed to identify and arrest the perpetrators.
Stones were hurled at a procession in Fatehpura area of Gujarat’s Vadodara, police said. While some vehicles got damaged, no one was injured in the incident and the procession passed along its planned route under police protection, said Deputy Commissioner of Police Yashpal Jaganiya.
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Violence in Bengal
Meanwhile, violence broke out between two groups when a Ram Navami procession was taken out in West Bengal’s Howrah city, where several vehicles were torched and shops were ransacked on Thursday evening.
Police said a number of people were detained in this connection. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is on a dharna, said strict action will be taken against the culprits.A police officer said the incident occurred when the procession was passing through the Kazipara locality. Several shops and auto-rickshaws were ransacked during the violence while a number of cars including a few police vehicles were set afire. Four fire tenders were pressed into service to extinguish the blaze.
The chief minister slammed the BJP for allegedly trying to stoke communal tension during the Ram Navami procession in Howrah and said those involved in the incident will not be spared.
(With Agency inputs)