Violent clashes between members of the Bharwad and Rajput communities in two districts of Gujarat on Thursday claimed two lives, injuring many, said the police. The clashes, during which firearms were used, took place in Morbi and adjoining Surendranagar district, where internet services have been suspended for the time being to curb rumour mongering, officials said.
Instances of stone-throwing and rioting were also reported from near Morbi district’s Halvad town and in some villages around Surendranagar’s Dhrangadhra town, the police said. The clashes in Halvad claimed one life while injuring two others, 30 vehicles were also torched.
The agitation began when members of Rajput community had an argument with the Bharwads while they were going to Dhrangadhra for a condolence meeting of Rajput leader Indrasinh Zala, who was hacked to death last Friday, police added. Zala, a former president of Dhrangadhra municipality, was in jail since 2013 in connection with the murder of a Bharwad community member and was hacked to death a day after he was released on parole.
“Some Rajputs and Bharwads came face to face near Halvad after some persons hurled stones on the former. The groups clashed when the Rajputs from different parts of Morbi district were headed towards Dhrangadhra to attend Mr Zala’s ‘besna’ (condolence meet),” SP (Morbi) Jaypalsinh Rathod said.
“The situation is under control as a large number of police personnel have been deployed on the Halvad-Dhrangadhra road,” the SP said.
Meanwhile, Gujarat Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja urged the people from both the communities to remain calm.
“To prevent spread of rumours, we have suspended Internet services in Morbi and Surendranagar. As many as seven companies of the State Reserve Police have been sent to control the situation. SPs of Rajkot, Jamnagar and Gandhidham districts along with three Range IGs were also sent to the affected areas,” said Mr Jadeja.