Khargone (Madhya Pradesh): For the first time in the last 11 days, the curfew in Madhya Pradesh's riot-hit Khargone city was relaxed for six hours in one go on Wednesday morning, officials said.
The local administration has been relaxing the curfew every day either in the morning or in two shifts since April 14, but this is for the time when the relaxation is granted from 10 am to 4 pm on Wednesday.
In the past couple of days, the curfew was relaxed in two shifts from 8 am to 12 noon and from 3 pm to 5 pm as the situation improved in the city.
The curfew was clamped after communal clashes erupted in Khargone city on Ram Navami on April 10 during which shops and houses were damaged, vehicles torched and stones hurled.
On Wednesday, post offices and banks will be allowed to remain open during the relaxation of curfew. Vehicles will not be allowed on roads and only the stores selling milk, vegetables, medicines, and barber's shops among others are allowed to remain open.
A government order (GO) said that people can purchase essential items from shops located in their neighbourhood as vehicles are not allowed on roads.
Petrol pumps will remain closed and the sale of kerosene will remain suspended at the fair price shops, it added.
Police have so far arrested 153 people and 65 First Information Reports (FIRs) registered in connection with the communal violence, a police officer had said.
People heave a sigh of relief as banks resume operation
With six-hour relaxation in curfew, banks and other financial institutions in the town resumed operations on Wednesday.
A large number of consumers thronged the banks to complete their financial transactions.
Suresh Patel, a resident of Rangaon said that there is a son's marriage in the family. Money is needed for shopping but they were not able to withdraw the money because of the curfew. Suresh had come to the district headquarters as the bank opened on Wednesday and started shopping as soon as he withdrew the money.
Sevakram Arse, who reached the bank, told that he has to buy seeds for sowing chillies and cotton. There has already been a delay in the procurement of seeds due to the curfew but now he will withdraw money and buy the seeds as the banks have opened.
The post office also opened on Wednesday and people started arriving at the post office from early morning. Deepak Sharma told that he had to submit an ID, but has failed to do so till now because of the curfew. Lata Yadav arrived to deposit the amount of the insurance premium.
Rs 30-40 lakh transactions in the day
Lead district manager Sandeep Murudhkar said that there are 20 branches of government and private sector banks in the urban area. Transactions of around Rs 30 to 40 lakhs were done on Wednesday when the transactions re-started here, after about ten days. He told that all the bank managers have been instructed to organise the ATMs as well.