Chhota Udepur simmers after rival groups clash

Town

Violence and arson erupted after results of Chhota Udepur Municipality elections were declared.

Tension was simmering in Chhota Udepur town of Vadodara district on Tuesday evening as groups of two communities clashed and reportedly set two offices and a godown on fire.

The situation escalated this afternoon after the two communities pelted stones, injuring a DSP and a local reporter among others, the previous evening.

Around 3 pm, a mob set alight a godown full of paper and metal scrap on Vachhedi-Joj road, about two km from the town. This was followed by ransacking of offices of two dolomite factories in the same area. Sources said mobs looted the offices before setting them alight.

"Fire-fighters are trying to control the blaze at godown and at the other places. Groups are still running riots in the area," a top police officer told The Indian Express over phone.

"This is escalation of clashes the previous evening when groups had indulged in stone-pelting near Circuit House," Chhota Udepur Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) K R Bhuva said.

Bhuva himself was hit on his feet by stones while trying to disperse the mobs.

The rioters had also targeted a reporter of a vernacular daily, snatching away his video-camera and and a gold chain. The rival groups had come out on streets after a truck hit another truck parked near Circuit House.

"The situation is totally under control. One company of SRP (state reserve police) is on its way to Chhota Udepur from Walia in Bharuch. We have also sought one more company," Vadodara district superintendent of police (SP) Sandeep Singh said, adding that additional police forces were also sought from neighbouring Dahod, Panchamahals, Bharuch and Narmada districts.

Vadodara range IG Sashikant Trivedi and other top police officers had reached the town and were monitoring the situation.

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