Communal violence engulfs country on Ram Navami
Ram Navami celebrations on Thursday saw communal violence break out in several states. Scores of people were injured in clashes, while the police arrested hundreds to restore law and order. Several religious processions were taken out despite the police not granting permission. Processions were accompanied by high-decibel, communally charged songs, resulting in violence in Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
Why does this story matter?
- Over the last decade, India has seen the communal rift widen with riots and targeted violence. Reportedly, Hindu religious processions with administrative support play provocative and communally-charged music while passing through Muslim-dominated areas to elicit a response.
- Ram Navami celebrations during April last year reportedly saw similar scenes of communal violence in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and other states.
500 unidentified people booked in Aurangabad
A man who was injured in police firing after clashes in Maharashtra's Aurangabad, succumbed on Thursday night. The police also arrested seven and booked 500 unidentified people after a mob pelted stones at a temple following a dispute. Jalgaon's Paldhi also saw stone pelting after a dispute over a religious procession blaring communally charged songs in front of a mosque.
Vehicles set on fire in Howrah
In West Bengal's Howrah, a clash between two groups on Thursday snowballed into a riot in which several vehicles were set ablaze. The police conducted raids and arrested 35 people in the case. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged that the BJP hired goons from other states to orchestrate the riot. She alleged that the procession took an unauthorized route to attack a particular community.
Miscreants reportedly hoisted saffron flags on mosques
24 arrested in Vadodara for attack on Ram Navami processions
While in Gujarat, the police arrested 24 people for allegedly pelting stones at two Ram Navami processions passing through communally-sensitive areas in Vadodara on Thursday. BJP MLA Manisha Vakil was also in the procession that was attacked in Kumbharwada. Another procession by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) was attacked at Fatehpura. Hindu organizations blamed the police for being absent and not controlling the situation.
200 booked in Bihar's Munger, 4 stabbed in Karnataka's Hassan
Meanwhile, police have filed charges against 200 unidentified people after a Ram Navami procession entered a Muslim-dominated area in Bihar's Munger on Thursday. In Karnataka's Hassan district, four people were stabbed in a clash that erupted after a Ram Navami procession organized by Bajrang Dal passed near a mosque while allegedly chanting, "Muslims should be chased to Pakistan."
Videos showed people waving saffron flags, chanting near mosques
Separately, a video of a man in Maharashtra's Haji Abdulreham Malang Shah Dargah waving a saffron flag and chanting Jai Shri Ram in the presence of police officers went viral. In Hyderabad, suspended BJP MLA Raja Singh led a Shobha Yatra, carrying a portrait of Nathuram Godse—Mahatma Gandhi's assassin. Around 2,000 people carried out a procession in Delhi's Jahangirpuri despite being denied permission.
Police framing Muslims in cases of violence: Reports
The Ram Navami processions had a provocative tone, as videos show men climbing atop domes and walls while waving saffron flags. Reportedly, law enforcement agencies are framing Muslims in cases of violence. In the Jalgaon case, nine Hindus and 63 Muslims were booked. In Vadodara, Muslim women claimed that policemen barged into their homes and assaulted them while showing snatched police badges as evidence.