Bantwal: Police resorted to lathi charge twice in two hours to quell the irate mobs that went on a rampage in Banta town limits late afternoon on Friday. A man and a woman were injured in the skirmishes and they have been admitted to hospitals in Mangalore.
Most people caught in the melee escaped with minor injuries. Commercial establishments, however, bore the brunt of the violence as three shops and one hotel were attacked with petrol bombs and stones. One of them, a tailoring shop, was reduced to ashes. One scooter, belonging to a shop owner, was burnt. C.N. Manhunt, gasholder of Bantawal taluk, said that a doctor's house had also been attacked. Miscreants managed to escape after a failed attempt at setting the doctor's car on fire.
The trouble started at 15:00 hours IST,when a few members belonging to two different communities allegedly had a disagreement over cow slaughter. It later turned into a scuffle and the bystanders took sides and jumped into the fray. Soon, the mobs began pelting stones at one another. They soon began targeting shops and passing vehicles.
Two motorcycle-bound youth reportedly indulged in stone throwing at a bus near St. Agnes Church and a garment shop near Multimodal Hotel. In about half-an-hour, the situation was such that the police were left with no option but to resort to lath charge. At 5.30 p.m., two hours after the police managed to disperse the mob for the first time, a larger group started rioting once again near the B.C. Road Circle.
The situation was brought under control after another round of caning. By 6.30 p.m. a tense calm settled in the area and people who were stranded for hours were seen scurrying to safety.
Hundreds of passengers, who had to pass through Banta on their journey to and from Mangalore, were stranded for hours at the B.C. Road Circle.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code have been imposed in the town till Sunday.