[Mahatashtra Minister Dada Bhuse, Malegaon MLA Asif Shaikh, Former MLA Mufti Ismael and others in a meeting with Nashik IG Vinay Kumar Chaube on Wednesday February 15, 2017 (ummid.com photo)]
Malegaon: Scores of commoners, including two engineering students, were mercilessly beaten and several vehicles were damaged as activists allegedly belonging to Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal went on rampage in Malegaon on Wednesday while protesting against an attack a day before on their group leader.
Business and normal life were hit in some parts of the city. Worst suffers were students appearing for the board examinations.
However, Malegaon as of now is totally peaceful. Police, and political and community leaders are appealing for peace and harmony.
"The city is totally peaceful. We are keeping a strong vigil to avoid any untoward incident", police said.
The VHP, Bajrang Dal and other Hindu extremist organisations had given a call on Wednesday February 15, 2017 to protest the attack on Machchindra Shirke, local VHP unit chief and Bajrang Dal district secretary, a day before on Tuesday.
"Bajrang Dal district general secretary and a gorakshak (cow protector) Machhindra Shirke was attacked on Mumbai-Agra highway around 11.30 am by unidentified people. Shirke sustained injuries in the attack and he was admitted to a private hospital," Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Rakesh Ola said on Tuesday.
"The attackers came on around 15 motorcycles and attacked Shirke with sticks", he said.
Police suspected that the incident could be a fallout of an assault in the town on two members of a minority community, who were found transporting cattle on Manmad road, on Monday.
Cow vigilantes attacked Shaikh Farid and Shaikh Faruqe at Jalgaon Chondi near Manmad on Monday when then were reportedly transporting animals. Both the injured were rushed to a local hospital where they are under medical observation.
Even as the police investafion in the case was on and Nashik SP Ankush Shinde himself rushed to the city to monitor the probe, the VHP and Bajrang Dal activists gave a shutdown call in the powerloom city.
Owing to the heavy police deployment situation was normal in the city on Wednesday morning and students went to schools and colleges, where board practical exams were underway, as usual. Local SDM office too conducted training sessions of the teachers temporary appointed for election duty.
As a precuationary measure and to avoid damages to the government properties, local administration stopped state transport buses at Manmad Chowfully and Chalisgaon Phata.
"I had to take auto-rickshaw to my college in the city as my bus was stopped at Manmad Chowfully - about 03 kms from the city", a girl student who comes from nearby Nandgaon to study at J.A.T. College in Malegaon said while talking to ummid.com.
Though the bandh had zero impact in Muslim majority parts of the city, most of the shops in the Hindu dominated areas including Samakser, Camp, Satana Naka and Mochi Corner were all closed due to the bandh call.
However situation took a violent turn at about 01:00 pm when a mob gathered near Ambedkar Putla started pelting stone targetting shops owned by people from the minority community.
The incident led to wild rumours in the city and, as panicked parents rushed to schools and colleges administrations decided to call for the day. They however decided to continue with the HSC board practical exam.
At the same time, when two students of Mansoora engineering college were rushing homes, they were mercilessly beaten allegedly by VHP and Bajrang Dal activists.
"Affan Mohd Tahir and Aqdas Abdur Rahman, both 2nd year students of Mechanical Engineering, were returning home when they were attacked near Ambedkar Bridge", a college staffer said.
"Both of them have sustained injuries", he added.
Others who were beaten include Mohammad Zakir Anees Raza and Ejaz Ahmed. Both have suffered injuries in head and are in a hospital, according to locals.
Heavy police deployment led by Nashik SP Ankush Shinde soon brought the situation under control.
Political leaders including State Minister Dada Bhuse, Mayor Ibrahim Seth, MLA Asif Shaikh, Former MLA Mufti Ismael, Raghunath Bagul of Merchant Bank, Harish Maru and others were seen on roads, appealing people to maintain peace and harmony.
They later also held a meeting with Inspector General of Police Vinay Kumar Chaube who rushed to Malegaon.
Meanwhile, a case has been registered against Zaheer Khan, Imran Khan and over 25 others for the attack on Bajrang Dal leader Machchindra Shirke.
On the other hand, people from the Quresh community also protested today demanding action against Machchindra Shirke, Subhash Malu and other cow vigilantes who they said were invloved in the attack on Shaikh Farid and Shaikh Faruq.