Jamshedpur Tense After Clashes Over Alleged Molestation Incident

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Jamshedpur:  A heavy contingent of police and security personnel has been posted at Jharkhand's Jamshedpur town after clashes erupted between two communities over an alleged molestation incident. Over 100 people were arrested and about 150 have been named in First Information Reports or FIRs.

The steel city, the hometown of Chief Minister Raghubar Das, was placed under indefinite curfew yesterday with a 5-hour relaxation in some areas. No major incidents of violence were reported in the city today. All schools were shut and are likely to remain closed tomorrow. The curfew is also likely to be relaxed for a few hours.

"The situation is under control. There have been incidents mostly due to rumour-mongering, which happens in situations like this," said senior police officer SN Pradhan.

The officer said that the allegation of molestation which triggered the clashes has not been confirmed. "Nobody has been able to confirm that incident. It is still in the domain of rumours," he said.

The clashes began two days ago after reports that a girl had been harassed by a member of a different community. Members of the girl's community assembled near a temple in the Mango area and blocked the road. The standoff soon turned violent.

Protesters clashed with the police and pelted stones at them. Many were injured from both sides. A bandh was called on Tuesday by the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) - both rightwing groups affiliated to the BJP's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS.

"It is alarming that such a minor incident led to such violence. Initially, some drug addicts were involved in the incident but it became a communal clash. The administration and the police should have acted earlier. We are inquiring into the incident," said Saryu Rai, a senior minister in the BJP-led Jharkhand government.


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