Lohardanga: A rally called by the right wing groups in support of the amended Amendment Act in Jharkhand's Lohardaga turned violent when a group of people allegedly threw stones at the procession, prompting the district administration to impose Section 144 in the area that prohibits gathering of more than five people.
Police said that the incident occurred on Thursday afternoon when the rally, called by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and supported by the BJP and other right wing groups, reached the Amlatoli Chowk area with thousands of supporters.
Members of Vishwa Hindu Parishad taking out rally in support of Citizenship Amendment Act in Lohardaga (Image tweeted by ANI)
An officer said that while passing through the Somwar Bazar area in the Muslim-dominated locality, stones were hurled on the procession. Some two-wheelers were set on fire following the attack, they added. Nearly 50 people, including police personnel, are said to have been injured during the violent clashes, about 70 kilometres north of Ranchi.
"Curfew has been imposed in the city to bring the law and order situation under control. Still many parts are disturbed and forces are being deployed to control miscreants," Lohardaga sub-divisional officer Jyoti Jha was quoted as saying by a national daily.
Lohardaga district collector said that schools and colleges will remain closed for two days due to the situation. Extra forces have been deployed in the area.
A report in Hindustan Times, stated that petrol bombs were also apparently hurled on many houses and shops. Hooligans entered three private residences resorting to vandalism and looting.
The entire two-km stretch of Lohardaga's main road from Amlatoli to Rajendra Bhawan was found littered with stones, a police officer, who did not wish to be named, was quoted as saying.
Naren Raj, a member of BJP youth wing, who was part of the organising committee, was quoted as saying that all permissions were taken from the administration for the procession. "It was completely peaceful under the police watch," he said.
HT quoted one of the injured Sanjay Barman as saying that stones were pelted from the rooftops of houses when a group of women in the procession was passing through the area. "It suddenly created chaos and people started running to save themselves. Commotions spread out soon in other localities and some armed groups descended on the roads to vandalise vehicles and shops," Barman said.