Bhiwandi backlash: Two cops set on fire, curfew on

Bhiwandi backlash: Two cops set on fire, curfew on
Bhiwandi (Maharashtra), July 6 (PTI) Two policemen were murdered and set on fire in a backlash by a mob after two persons were killed in police firing in curfew-bound textile town of Bhiwandi during violent protests against construction of a police station next to a mosque.

Authorities stopped the construction in a bid to defuse tension even as curfew remained in force in the town where tension continued to run high for the second day today.

Head constable Ramesh Jagtap and constable B N Gangurde of Narpoli police station were stabbed to death near Kotara Gate locality and later set afire by the mob last night, police said adding the mutilated bodies of the two policemen were found nearly 500 metres from the mosque.

The curfew clamped in the town yesterday continued today, police said, adding the situation was tense but was under control.

Eight companies of state reserve police, two companies of rapid action force and 800 policemen are posted in the city, police said, adding though cases had been registered, no arrest made so far.

Senior police officials, including the Police Commissioner D Shivanandan were monitoring the situation.

Two persons were killed in police firing and at least 34 persons, mostly policemen, were injured in stone pelting by the mob yesterday. The deceased were identified as Ramjan Khan and Abdul Malik, both residents of the town.

People gathered in large numbers at the burial ground next to the Quarter Gate mosque, close to the venue of yesterday's police firing, to attend the funeral of Khan and Malik.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra government today ordered halt to further construction of the police station on the disputed plot and ordered a high-level probe into the ownership of the land.

A committee consisting of the State Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) and Secretary (Revenue) was formed by Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to probe ownership of disputed plot, official sources said.

The dispute is over 2,200 square metres of land located next to the Quarter Gate mosque which the people say is part of burial ground while police claim that the department owns the land since 1920.

The authorities have proposed to construct on this land Nizampura and Bhiwandi town police stations along with offices of Assistant Commissioner of Police.

The existing Nizampura police station is located five kms from mosque but since every year it faces problem of inundation the police department decided to shift the police station at the controversial plot which is at a considerable height.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Police, R D Shinde, who had ordered the police firing, was admitted to the ICU of Hinduja hospital in Mumbai for treatement of skull and facial fractures sustained in a mob attack yesterday.

Curfew was imposed yesterday after mob went on rampage damaging property and attacking policemen.

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