Two persons died and around fifty others, including a dozen policemen, were injured as clashes broke out between two communities in Aurangabad city in Central Maharashtra last night, police said.
The situation was under control since this afternoon, but the district administration has clamped prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure banning assembly of people and suspended Internet services, said a senior police official.
One of the deceased was a 17-year-old youth who allegedly died in police firing, while the other was a 65-year-old man who was trapped in his house when an adjoining shop was set on fire by rioters, the official said.
The rioting started in Moti Karanja area around 10 last night and spread to Gandhi Nagar, Raja Bazaar, Shah Ganj and Sarafa areas, forcing police to fire in the air and lob teargas shells, the official added.
Among those injured were seven women and a dozen policemen, including an assistant commissioner of police.
Rioters set fire to around 100 shops and 80 vehicles, the official said, adding that 37 persons have been arrested for rioting and arson since last night.
According to local sources, tension was brewing in Moti Karanja area for the last few days as the municipal corporation was carrying out a drive against illegal water connections.
It got a communal colour when an illegal water connection at a place of worship in the area was removed, sources added.
Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde alleged that the violence reflected a failure of the state intelligence machinery, and demanded a judicial probe into the incident.
Appealing for peace, the NCP leader asked police to take local people in confidence while handling the tense situation.