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Sangli Communal Violence

The Mid Day
September 8, 2009



Hindus get down to repairing damaged mosques, Muslims vow to reduce noise from loudspeakers


By: Sanjeev Devasia

Communal tension that had engulfed Miraj following riots between Hindus and Muslims over an arch depicting Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji slaying Mughal knight Afzal Khan seems to have eased. People in the town are now stepping out without fear because of an unwritten understanding and a code of conduct suggested by leaders of both the communities. The understanding includes things like Muslims shutting mutton shops during Hindu festivals.

Joint meet
"Hindus and Muslims held a joint meeting where both communities expressed their grievances and issues they want resolved. As a show of solidarity, the meeting was attended by members of all parties in the grampanachayat that is ruled by the Shiv Sena. Muslims wanted an assurance that Hindus would protect them during any eventuality," said Ramdas Patil, a grampanchayat member.
Battu Patil, a panchayat member, said, "No outsider will be allowed to enter the local mosque. The number of speakers in the mosque will also be reduced after Eid. The majority population should assure that they will only condemn an incident and ensure there is no violence against minorities."

Krishna Prakash, Sangli superintendent of police, said, "We encourage the understanding between the two communities. We have also asked other communities to provide funds to rebuild damaged places of worship and houses." In fact, some Hindus have already raised funds and are repairing mosques and houses of Muslims damaged in the violence.

Cause of riot

A welcome arch, put up by the Shiv Sena, depicting Shivaji killing Afzal Khan, triggered the riots.

On September 2, a group pelted the arch with stones and forced the administration to remove it. A day later, on visarjan day, Ganesh mandals refused to immerse idols unless the arch was reinstalled. The cops then served notices, asking them to dismantle pandals.




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