Group clash breaks out in Amreli, 10 hurt

Ten persons were injured, three of them severely, in a group clash between two communities at Damnagar town in Amreli district on Thursday. Police said the clash broke out following a dispute over construction of a temple on a piece of land, which members of a minority community claimed was their ancestral graveyard.

"Members of both groups were armed with sticks, pipes and swords. A couple of rounds of firing was also reported," said Damnagar police sub-inspector A S Titiya, adding, "Two shops were also burnt down by the mob."

During a combing operation after the clash, police arrested a man who was carrying a pistol.

Police said those injured severely have been admitted to Amreli Civil Hospital while others have been shifted to local hospitals. "Condition of the three injured severely is reported to be stable," said Titiya.

"The situation is now under control, but still tensed," said a police officer, adding that "heavy bandobast" has been made in the town.

At the heart of controversy is expansion of Bochanavasi Akshar Purshottam Sawaminarayan (BAPS) campus.

The site was allotted to BAPS in 1971. The dispute aggravated in 2002 when 30,000 square feet land was officially sold to BAPS by the local body. The matter had reached the court, which ruled in the favour of BAPS in 2007.

As the temple's construction resumed in January this year, nearly 300 locals were arrested for staging a protest while claiming the site was their ancestral graveyard.

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