People from Gujarat may have crossed over, says minorities commission chief

State Minorities Commission chairman Munaf Hakeem said Wednesday there was a possibility people from Gujarat crossed over and instigated violence in Dhule on January 6. Dhule borders Gujarat and the riot in the district 10 days ago claimed six lives, all local Muslims.

Interacting with The Indian Express editorial staff, Hakeem said, "Our investigations have found that there has been no involvement of any local organisation in the riot. There is a possibility that people crossed over from Gujarat to instigate violence and this angle needs to be probed."

He said during his interaction with riot-affected people, many claimed people from outside their region led the violence.

"In many cases, people wearing police uniforms were seen destroying property. The judicial commission investigating the Dhule riot needs to inquire whether they were genuine policemen," he said.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had ordered a judicial commission after his Dhule visit on Tuesday.

The Minorities Commission that surveyed the localities and houses targeted in Dhule found freshly-baked red bricks had been used. "There are no brick-making units in the vicinity," Hakeem said.

Houses of both Hindus and Muslims along the fish market were damaged, he said, adding that the objects used for attacking these houses were the same. "Broken glass collected from the areas were of the same kind and indicate the same group indulged in the attack," he pointed out.

The commission chairman dismissed that acid was used to fuel the riots. Hakeem said, "I personally visited the hospitals and could not find a single case of acid burns." The final report would shed light on all these issues, he added.

Besides claiming six lives, the Dhule riots left 200 injured after members of two communities clashed over a Rs 30 bill for a lunch at a roadside vendor.

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