Gujarat: One dead, policemen injured as mob hurls stones to oppose plan to raze dargah; tear gas used, 174 held

Junagadh: Angered by notice from JMC, around 500-600 people gather near religious structure on Friday night

BY | Saturday, 17 June, 2023

One person died apparently after being hit by a stone, while at least five police personnel were injured in Gujarat’s Junagadh city after a group of people hurled stones and torched a vehicle to oppose the civic body’s plan to raze a dargah (Sufi shrine or tomb) to clear “encroachment”, officials said on Saturday.

The incident occurred on Friday night near Majevadi Darwaja in the city, during which the police lobbed tear gas shells and baton-charged the protesters to control the situation, and later rounded up 174 people, they said.

The exact reason behind the civilian’s death would be known after the post-mortem, but the police suspect that he died after being hit by a stone hurled by the mob.

“On June 14, the Junagadh Municipal Corporation issued a notice to a mosque near Majevadi Darwaja to produce documents regarding the ownership of land. Agitated over the notice, around 500-600 people gathered near the religious structure and blocked roads on Friday night,” Superintendent of Police Ravi Teja Vasamsetty said.

Deputy SP of Junagadh and other staff, who were present at the site, tried to convince them. After nearly an hour-long deliberations aimed at finding a peaceful resolution of the matter and clearing the protesters’ road blockade, some stones were thrown at the police staff around 10.15 pm, he said.

Shouting slogans, some people, agitated over the notice to the dargah, charged towards the police personnel and tried to attack them, he added.

Police lobbed tear gas shells and baton-charged to disperse the unruly crowd. Junagadh DySP, three sub-inspectors and two other police personnel were injured in the incident, but all of them are out of danger, he said, adding that a mob also set a vehicle on fire.

“A civilian died and it appears that stone-pelting was the cause of his death. But we are waiting for a post-mortem report to know the exact cause. Police teams rounded up 174 people in a combing operation,” Vasamsetty said.

Police personnel are deployed in the area to avoid any further untoward incident and efforts to nab all those involved in the clash are being taken, he said.

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