The incident occurred late last night following an altercation between two groups over bursting of fire crackers in the 'communally sensitive' locality, they said.

Trouble sparked off when some residents objected to the bursting of crackers near a house where bereavement was reported to have taken place.

The heated argument soon led to an exchange of brickbats followed by firing. Within minutes, mob fury broke out and a shop was set afire. Most of the injured carried wounds caused by country made fire arms, police said.

The injured were rushed to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, where doctors described the condition of at least one as critical.

Police and Rapid Action Force have been deployed at all sensitive spots and district authorities have appealed to citizens not to give credence to rumours.

The DM said strong action will be taken against any person who tries to inflame passions by circulating rumours. No arrests have been made so far.

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