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Wednesday, May 08, 2002

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Stabbing spree in Ahmedabad

By Manas Dasgupta

AHMEDABAD May 7. A t least 10 persons were killed and scores injured in stabbing, police firing and stoning in Ahmedabad today while most other parts of the State remained incident-free. Kalupur, Vejalpur, Juhapura and Sarkhej areas in the city were placed under curfew today. Dani Limda, Behrampura and Shahpur have been under curfew since Sunday evening.

The city witnessed 15 incidents of stabbing today. While two persons were stoned to death, two killed in police firing and one succumbed to injuries sustained in a bomb blast. In most of the cases, the bodies of those stabbed to death were set afire.

A youth was stabbed right inside the V. S. Hospital, run by the Congress-controlled Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, in the presence of police. The youth was stabbed when he alighted from an ambulance carrying a patient stabbed in Juhapura locality when some Sangh Parivar volunteers were demonstrating against the alleged "partisan attitude'' of the hospital authorities against Hindu patients.

While three persons each were killed in Kalupur and Vejalpur localities, two were killed in Juhapura and one each in Jamalpur and Dani Limda areas. Perhaps for the first time the night remained by and large peaceful and most of the violent incidents took place in broad day-light.

The day began with a stabbing incident in Majoorgam under Kalupur police station and soon the violence spread to the outskirts of the city. A college instructor was stabbed to death and then his body set afire in Sarkhej locality.

The incident had its repercussions in the neighbouring Juhapura and Vejalpur localities where violent mobs came out on the streets and indulged in stone throwing and attacked passers-by. At least three trucks in Sarkhej and Juhapura localities were set ablaze after their drivers fled.

A camel cart owner was stabbed to death in Vejalpur where two others were killed when police opened fire to disperse the violent mobs. The Juhapura and Vejalpur incidents spread tension in the city with one person was stoned to death near Revdi Bazar in Kalupur. At least seven persons, including three policemen, were injured in a bomb blast near the Kalupur police station. One of the injured later died in the hospital. The charred body of a middle-aged person, believed to have been stabbed to death and later set afire, was recovered from Jamalpur.

Police admitted that bombs were being exploded like firecrackers and there was no count of the number of bombs exploded in the city.

The State ruling BJP president, Rajendrasinh Rana, expressed concern over the deteriorating law and order situation and admitted that the image of Gujarat and that of the BJP had taken a beating. Stressing the need for immediate steps to stop the violence, Mr. Rana said strict action must be taken against all those involved in violent activities. "They are criminals and criminals have no religion, caste or creed or any political affiliations. All of them must be dealt with firmly,'' Mr. Rana told media persons.

However, Mr. Rana said the BJP was going ahead with the preparations for the Assembly elections the timings for which would be decided by the Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, if accepted by the Election Commission. He said he would convene a meeting of the State party executive towards the end of this month for election preparations.

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