Akola Clash: Internet shutdown, Section 144 may be extended
Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, said that 30 miscreants have been arrested so far and strict action was being taken against those disrupting law and order in the area
Section 144 has been imposed and Internet services suspended in the city of Akola in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra after rioting broke out between two communities on Saturday night.
The rioting, over an alleged defamatory post on Instagram, led to the death of one person while eight others, including two policemen, were injured. The district administration has prohibited unlawful assembly of people in four police station areas of the city to maintain law and order. Internet services were also suspended all of Sunday.
Akola District Collector, Neema Arora told National Herald that an inflammatory social media post led to the communal clashes. “We are closely monitoring the situation and Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code has been imposed. Moreover, internet services have been suspended and if need be can be extended further depending on the situation on ground."
The deceased has been identified as Vilas Gaikwad (40). He got killed in stone pelting from both the sides. Following the incident, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is also in charge of the home department, said that 30 miscreants have been arrested and strict action was being taken against those disrupting law and order in the area.
Fadnavis has ordered extra forces to be rushed to the spot to contain the situation. A local citizen on the condition of anonymity said that rumours and hearsay were two factors which led to violent clashes, including arson. He demanded a thorough probe of both the clashing groups by the police department.
State Rural Development Minister Girish Mahajan visited the riot-affected area and described the riots as pre-planned. The state government has announced an ex-gratia payment to the next of kin of the deceased.
Akola Superintendent of Police Sandip Ghuge said, “The clashes took place over uploading an Instagram post after which people from two communities clashed with each other. There was stone pelting and one person died during that incident. Eight others including two policemen are injured and three cases have been lodged in connection with the incident."
Meanwhile, neither the district administration nor the police would specify the details of the Instagram post that had triggered the riots or what the subject matter of the post was.