Curfew imposed in parts of Varanasi following violent protests

Varanasi (Agencies): Violence erupted in the holy city of Varanasi on Monday, with mobs indulging in stone-pelting on police and setting ablaze a police picket and number of vehicles.

The violence broke out during a march by seers and some other locals, when some people in the crowd resorted to stone-pelting, police sources said.

The district authorities have imposed a curfew in four areas in Varanasi on Monday in the wake of the violence. The curfew has been imposed in Kotwali, Dashashwamedh, Chowk and Luxa areas after violent protests over the issue.

Clashes had broken out between police and protesters and the police had resorted to lathi charge to disperse the protesters. The mob also indulged in arson, setting afire a police picket, a police jeep, a motorbike and some shops in Godowlia area under Dashashwamedh police station, they said.

Thousands of people, including seers and locals, were taking out the protest march from Townhall to Dashashwamed Ghat against the incident of lathicharge on them during their dharna staged between September 21 and 23 for preventing them from immersing Ganesha idols in Ganga. The dharna was called off after police used force on them in the midnight.

Last month, the police had baton-charged some pilgrims when they were trying to immerse Ganesha idols in the Ganga.

The Allahabad High Court in 2013 had ordered a complete ban on the immersion of idols in the Ganga and Yamuna to keep a check on increasing pollution in the rivers.

However, the court had relaxed the norms on insistence of the district authorities, who maintained that a change in immersion route could lead to law and order unrest.

Varanasi is the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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