Mangalore: An accident took a communal turn and led to two groups belonging to different religious communities clashing in Ullal Sunday evening. Though the mobs were dispersed after the police caned them, two buses were subsequently stoned in the area.
Around 6.30 p.m., Kateeja and her two daughters were returning to their house on K.C. Road after prayers at Ullal Dargah, when an allegedly inebriated man rammed his car into her. The car driver sped away, but was stopped by a group of people – mostly devotees returning from the dargah – at the Mukacheeri crossing.
As the group questioned the driver, another group of Hindu men, who were playing cricket nearby came to the defence of the driver and a fight ensued.
“The men have had a grouse with us as we had previously objected to them playing cricket in a public place where the ball used to hit passers-by. However, seizing the opportunity, they supported the driver and started attacking us,” said an eye-witness.
The Ullal police intervened, and the mob dispersed after a lathicharge. In the melee, the car driver escaped.
Subsequently, around seven men, stopped a 44A bus — from Someshwar to Mangalore — at Ombatukere around 6.30 p.m and threw at least five stones at it, said Loknath Shetty, the driver of the bus who suffered cuts on his arm. At 7.20 p.m., another bus, route 44D, travelling from Mangalore to Ullal, was pelted with stones by two people, and the driver, Iqbal was injured.
Meanwhile, the two drivers, Kateeja and Habeeb, who was injured in the fight, were admitted to a nearby private hospital with bruises and cuts.
The car driver was later arrested at a check-post as he entered Mangalore city. Central Reserve Police Force personnel, in Ullal for election duty, were posted at “sensitive” zones to prevent any further incidents.