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The Hindu on indiaserver.com : Rioting for water: firing on mob

Online edition of India's National Newspaper on indiaserver.com
Tuesday, April 18, 2000


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Rioting for water: firing on mob

By Our Special Correspondent

GANDHINAGAR, APRIL 17. Police opened fire after teargassing and lathi charge failed to disperse a riotous mob agitated over acute shortage of drinking water in Bhavnagar city in the Saurashtra area of Gujarat today. At least five people were injured, presumably from lathi-charge while the police arrested about 25 people on charges of rioting.

According to reports available here, a group of about 200 people, including a large number of women, from Indiranagar locality in the city gathered near the marketing yard to stage a demonstration against the Bhavnagar municipal corporation authorities as they complained that the civic body failed to supply potable water for the fifth consecutive day today.

A number of traders who had collected at the marketing yard for the day's trading also joined the demonstration gheraoing some civic officials. As the situation threatened to go out of control, police burst teargas shells and resorted to lathi charge to disperse the riotous mob. As the number of agitators continued to grow, police opened fire.

The Minister of State for Home, Mr. Haren Pandya, claimed that the demonstrators were instigated by the Congress(I) to stage demonstration against the civic authorities even though the water supply situation in the city was satisfactory.

He said the police fired only one round and that too in the air to scare the mob away.

The Pradesh Congress(I) vice-president, Mr. Hasmukh Patel, while denying Mr Pandya's allegations, criticised the ruling BJP for firing on the innocent people demanding supply of water.

The party demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident.


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