Riot in Akola was pre-planned, says Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan

One killed, several injured in the violence that broke out

Akola riots A vehicle set on fire by miscreants during clashes between members of two communities over a social media post, in Akola, Maharashtra | PTI

Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan has claimed the clash between members of two communities in Akola which claimed one person's life and left nine others injured was possibly "pre-planned".

The clash broke out on Saturday night in the sensitive Old City area of Akola over a religious post which went viral on a social media platform, a senior police official earlier said.

Members of the two groups pelted stones at each other and indulged in large scale vandalism. The rioters set on fire some two-wheelers and four-wheelers during the violence.

One person was killed and eight others, including two policemen, were injured, an official earlier said.

The police have detained 26 people in connection with the incident and deployed heavy security in the violence-hit areas, as per officials.

The person killed in the violence has been identified as Vilas Gaikwad (40), they said.

Internet services were shut in the entire city to check the spread of any rumours on social media.

After the incident, District Magistrate Neema Arora ordered the imposition of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which prohibits unlawful assembly of people, in four police station areas of the city to maintain law and order.

State Rural Development Minister Girish Mahajan visited the riot-affected area on Sunday.

Talking to reporters, he said, "It is suspected that the incident was pre-planned. Some houses and vehicles were damaged. Strict action would be taken against the culprits."

Mahajan also met the family of the man killed in the violence and expressed condolence.

He also inspected the violence-affected areas near Rajarajeshwar temple and Harihar Peth in Akola.

Mahajan said state Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced an assistance of Rs 4 lakh for the family of the person killed in the violence.

He assured government's support to the deceased's family members, who are from a poor financial background.

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