Mumbai: The clashes between two groups in Aurangabad last week that killed two people were "communal" and "pre-planned", the BJP's ally in Maharashtra Shiv Sena has said in its mouthpiece Saamana.
The Shiv Sena criticised the home department, headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, over not appointing a senior police officer for Aurangabad, a city considered a "highly sensitive" area.
A 65-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy were killed in clashes on Friday night between two groups over selective disconnection of illegal water connections in the city, 335 kilometres from Mumbai.
"It is clear that the riots were communal and not some clashes between two groups. The way petrol bombs were used within the first 15 minutes of riots is enough to conclude that it was a pre-planned attack," the Shiv Sena said.
The post of the commissioner of police in Aurangabad has been lying vacant, despite the city being one of the "highly sensitive areas" in Maharashtra, the party said. "It is a failure of the Home department headed by the chief minister. Or is it because the chief minister wants a pro-BJP IPS officer to be appointed there?" the Shiv Sena said.
Over 60 people including police personnel were injured in the clashes. Some 100 shops and over 40 vehicles were set on fire.
People familiar with the matter said tension had been building up in Aurangabad's Moti Karanja for the last few days before the clashes broke out as the municipal corporation had been carrying out a drive against illegal water connections. Water connection to a place of worship was allegedly removed, leading to the clashes, the people said, news agency Press Trust of India reported.
The Shiv Sena's Marathi daily said Maharashtra's image has already taken a beating due to the clashes in Koregaon-Bhima in Pune district in January, where Dalits were targeted.
"It looks like the law and order does not exist in Maharashtra," the Shiv Sena said.
With inputs from PTI