AURANGABAD: On Saturday night three wards of old city in Aurangabad witnessed mob violence. Two persons lost their lives Chhaganlal Bansile, 72, died when the building he was staying was burnt by the mob.He could not leave the house as he was a disabled person.

A 16 year boy Abdul Haris died in police firing. Many houses and shops were burnt and vehicles damaged.

Immediate cause of this violence is still not known but it is alleged that the local municipal corporations recent action against hawkers and illegal water connections and a dispute between fruit vendors and consumers in these wards was the immediate trigger for the mob violence.

However the scale and planning of arson and damage to the property indicates a planned effort to incite communal violence. The Aurangabad corporation is under the Shiv Sena and BJP rule since 1990 and has failed to solve the water problem and garbage disposal issues. It has been unable to provide public transport with the roads in a state of disrepair.

To make matters worse financial mismanagement and the steep fall in revenue collection has added to the existing problems. The people are fed up and angry and the growing unrest has divided the BJP and the Shiv Sena, with both parties issuing statements against each other on a regular basis.

An effort to privatise water has failed and it is a well known fact that corruption has reached unprecedented proportions. To divert the attention of the people from these issues efforts to generate communal tensions and riot in these wards have been afoot.

The violence, however, was contained without graver damage because the people saw through these diversionary tactics. The communal fires were stopped within these wards and did not spread to other parts of the city. However, the communal tension is now expected to impact on the city in the coming corporate elections.

CPI District Secretary Ashfaque Salami along with city secretary Lahane and assistant secretary Abhay Taksal visited the affected areas and appealed for peace. A delegation of Left parties met the police officers and demanded strict actions against those responsible for the violence. The ruling government has come under a question mark for creating this situation, and trying to polarise voters instead of dealing with the pressing civic problems.

(B.R.Kango is a senior leader of the CPI based in Aurangabad)