Chandigarh: A clash erupted between two communities at Hathin in Palwal district of Haryana over a dispute about the expansion of a religious structure, forcing authorities to clamp curfew, an official said on Thursday.
The situation is limping back to normalcy and the curfew will be lifted by evening today, Palwal Deputy Commissioner Makrand Pandurang said.
Pandurang said that "members of two communities rioted and damaged properties over a dispute on a religious structure at Hathin on Tuesday night."
He said the dispute was going on between the two communities before Assembly polls in the state over a disputed religious structure and its expansion over the government land.
"The small religious structure was expanded and in the process some part of government land had been encroached," he said.
A peace committee comprising members from both the communities was set up to resolve the issue before the Assembly polls and it was decided by the representatives of the committee to "remove" the structure that had encroached on government land after the elections, he said.
However, during the process, a person played mischief by offering prayers at the disputed part of the structure after which some rumours spread across resulting in arson and clashes on Tuesday night that went till next day.
He said that some 40 shops were damaged or burnt besides several vehicles were also damaged during the arson.
Police have registered 16 FIRs against several people and also arrested one Navin Kumar in this connection, he said.
"The peace committee had assured us cooperation and the situation is limping back to normalcy and the curfew will be lifted by evening today," he said.
A heavy police deployment had been made in the area as a precautionary measure and the situation is now under control, the Deputy Commissioner said.
On being asked that the Ministry of Home Affairs had also sought a report from the newly-elected Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government on the issue, the Deputy Commissioner said that a detailed report had been sent to the state Home Secretary.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that members of a community arrived at a disputed site on Tuesday night following rumours that the religious structure was being expanded and later clashed. In October last, members of a community had tried to extend a religious structure near old police station at Hathin.
Clashes had occurred on October 5 last after members of another community allegedly pulled down the wall around the site. Later, on the assurance of a peace committee the two sides agreed to stay away from the disputed site till the matter is resolved.