Many Hurt in Riot during Ramanavami Shobha Yatra in Aurangabad

Riot breaks out during Ramanavami procession in Aurangabad on Monday.

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Aurangabad: Despite appeal for peace and calm during the Ramanavami festival by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Aurangabad on Monday turned into a violent battlefield when an unidentified group pelted stones on a Shobha Yatra leading to arson, vandalism, and assault on innocent bystanders resulting in the injury of nearly two dozen people and loss of properties in several crores.

The incident occurred around 2:00 pm when a Shobha Yatra organized by the Thakurbari Temple reached near Nawadih are in Aurangabad. Suddenly some people started to throw stones and bricks at devotees in the religious procession. This led to a stampede-like situation as people ran helter-skelter to avoid being hurt in the brick-batting.

Security officials in the area tried to get a grip on the situation but were easily outnumbered by those on the offense forcing them to call for backup.

By the time anti-riot reinforcement arrived, hooligans had burnt down several vehicles, shops, and other establishments in the area. Near Sabzi Bagh, rioters set Royal Hotel on fire and damaged more than a dozen small shops in the area. This was repeated on Maharajganj Road where more shops were set on fire. Altogether, more than 50 shops were said to have been set on fire by the miscreants.

Reports said over two dozen police officials were hurt in the incident.

After two hours of complete chaos, the situation, though still tense, was finally brought under control.

Aurangabad District Magistrate (DM) Rahul Ranjan Mahival ordered imposition of curfew under Section 144 to bring the situation under control. A shoot-at-sight was also ordered to deal with anyone trying to disturb peace in the area. CRPF jawans were deployed and ordered to march across the town to maintain peace and to keep miscreants at bay.

Superintendent of Police (SP) Satya Prakash said the police was gathering evidence from surveillance footages from the area to identify those who initiated the riot.

To stop rumors from flying, the district administration has shut down the internet service and has taken over four dozen people in custody for questioning.

The DM claimed the situation was completely under control but the curfew will continue for at least another day until it is deemed safe to withdraw it.

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