RANCHI : It was business as usual for Bharat Kumar on Friday afternoon as he sat inside his store in the KLC Mall on Ranchi’s Mahatma Gandhi Road when he heard a commotion outside.
Curious, Kumar peeped out of the glass door of his store when he witnessed a handful of police personnel standing outside. Before he could comprehend, an angry mob advanced, punching their fists in the air and throwing stones. “Scared, I hurriedly pulled down the shutter of the main entrance and locked myself inside,” he said.
Raju, an autorickshaw driver, had dropped off a passenger at Sarjana Chowk moments ago and was turning his vehicle towards Purulia Road when a stone hit his vehicle in the rear. “Before I could understand anything, a couple of cops ran up to my auto and pulled out their canes to hit me. They perhaps thought that I was a part of the mob as I was wearing a kurta. I did not stop to explain and just drove off as fast as I could,” he said.

A cart set on fire near a temple

Some Hindpiri residents did not see the violence coming. “I had come home from lunch from my office when I heard a commotion outside the Chhoti Masjid, which is just behind my home around 1.50 pm. A few minutes later, I got a call from my colleague who warned me against leaving for office again as violence had broken out,” Sumati Singh (name changed on request) told TOI over phone.
Rishabh Kumar, a thirdyear student at BIT Mesra, had parked his motorcycle outside the Sankat Mochan Temple when he heard a commotion. “There were people advancing from Ekra Masjid towards us. A handful of policemen tried to block them, but they overpowered and began advancing, throwing stones all along. A stone hit my shoulder. I let out a scream and ran inside the temple to save my life,” Kumar said. Kumar was not alone. Overpowered and outnumbered, several cops from Lower Bazar police station also sought refuge inside the temple.
Imtiaz Ahmed, the secretary of New Daily Market Traders Welfare Association, claimed: “Our plan was to register silent protests by keeping the shops shut and we had informed the cops from the Daily Market police station about the same. But everything went haywire.”

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