Aurangabad: The police failed to prevent and contain the violence that was witnessed in Aurangabad last week, resulting in the death of two persons and injuries to 60 people, a top official of Maharashtra police admitted on Tuesday.
Additional Director General of Police Bipin Bihari, after reviewing the situation in the city located in the Marathwada region, said the police had failed to take action against the rioters.
He said a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed by Aurangabad's Acting Commissioner of Police Milind Bharambe to probe the role of the police officials during the riots.
On May 11, Aurangabad, located about 350 kms from Mumbai, witnessed clashes between groups of two communities over illegal water connections.
The violence left a 65-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy dead and around 60 others, including a dozen policemen, injured. Several shops and scores of vehicles were also torched.
Bharambe will conduct an inquiry into the allegations against a city police inspector for not preventing the violence and ignoring complaints about it, Bihari told reporters here.
A nine-minute video, which has gone viral, purportedly shows some police personnel walking with rioters during the violence.
"An SIT has been constituted to inquire into the viral video showing a policeman shaking hands with a rioter before he and his accomplices start torching vehicles. Strict action will be taken against those found guilty," Bharambe told reporters here yesterday.
Notably, the 17-year-old boy was killed allegedly in police firing in the Nawabpura area on that day.
Later, another video surfaced purportedly showing Shiv Sena MP from Aurangabad, Chandrakant Khaire, with some rioters.
Meanwhile, the situation in the riot-hit city of central Maharashtra today remained tensed but under control.
Internet services were restored this morning and prohibitory orders clamped under Section 144 of the CrPC were revoked in the central Maharashtra city, another police official said.
The police have registered six cases in which nearly 3,000 unidentified people were booked for offences like arson, rioting and damaging public property, he said.
The situation became tense in the Shivaji Nagar area this afternoon when the police went to apprehend Shiv Sena leader Rajendra Janjal on charges of rioting.
Besides the local police, seven State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) battalions were deployed in the violence-affected areas, the official said.
The clashes between groups of two communities started in Moti Karanja area around 10 pm on May 11 and spread to Gandhi Nagar, Raja Bazaar, Shah Ganj and Sarafa localities, a police official had earlier said.
Tension was brewing in Moti Karanja area over the preceding days as the municipal corporation was carrying out a drive against illegal water connections, according to sources in Aurangabad.
It got a communal colour when an illegal water connection at a place of worship in the area was removed, the sources said.
The violence appeared to be pre-planned as shops were targeted selectively in some areas, a senior police officer said.
District Magistrate Uday Chaudhari yesterday said that 'panchnama' of the incident would be completed in two to three days.
The report on the estimated loss of property would be submitted to the government, he said.
The Shiv Sena yesterday dubbed the riots as a "communal" and "pre-planned" act of violence.
The BJP's bickering ally also rapped the state Home department, headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, over the security lapses and failing to appoint a police commissioner for the city, which is considered a "highly sensitive" area.
AIMIM MLA Imtiaz Jalil said, "The video clips made by citizens are a proof of who are behind the riots. The rioters are themselves asking the police to take action against others who have faced losses. All those who are guilty should be punished."
He demanded that Fadnavis should take action, but was not very hopeful of it.