After drought, police worried about water riots in Maharashtra

Perturbed by the looming water crises in several parts of the state, Maharashtra Police has directed its personnel to remain prepared and handle possible water riots with "sensitivity", the state police chief said here Thursday.

"I have issued a circular asking police not only to be ready for such contingencies arising out of the worsening water scenario in the state, but also handle the volatile situations in a sensitive manner," Director-General of Police Sanjeev Dayal told IANS.

On the specific issue of "water riots", Dayal said that this was one of the points in the circular which also spoke of other situations which the police force would be required to handle.

He admitted that some sections of the media have only highlighted one issue out of the entire circular. "We have not said anywhere that water riots are likely to erupt," the DGP said.

The issue of possible strife over water came to the fore Wednesday when Aurangabad Police Commissioner S. Kukar expressed similar apprehensions and said that police have been put on alert to tackle any fallout of the water situation.

Maharashtra has been gripped by drought in several parts of the state, with the water shortage situation in certain parts of Beed, Nanded, Parbhani, Jalna, Aurangabad, Nashik and Satara critical enough to fuel human migration to urban centres. The state government has been making all-out efforts to combat the situation and is now requisitioning help of Indian Railway to ferry water tankers as transportation by roads was not sufficient to cater to 1,633 villages and 4,490 hamlets facing drought.

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