Communal violence on Ram Navami

Communal violence was reported from parts of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and other states on the 10th of April, Sunday when some Hindu groups carried out a procession to mark the day, the occasion of Ram Navami. Reportedly, one person died in the clash in Gujarat. Home Minister said that 77 people in Madhya Pradesh have been arrested who are suspected to be involved in violence. 

In Gujrat, the violence was reported in the Khambhat town in the Anand district (central Gujarat) and Himmatnagar town (in the Sabarkantha district of North Gujarat). There were reports of stone-pelting and arson from both of these towns. 

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Abhishek Gupta told the Indian Express, “The body of a man around 60 years of age has been found from the area where the clashes took place. The victim has not been identified yet and the nature of his death will be confirmed only after a post-mortem report. We have begun a crackdown and four persons have been detained… An FIR will be lodged in the matter.” 

When the ram Navami procession entered the Chhaparia area, in Himmatnagar the violence reportedly began. The chhparia area is dominated by minorities which are mostly religious minorities. As per the Indian Express, even after reports of violence in the area, the Hindu Parishad decided to out another rally in the same area. 

The police reported that four of its officers were injured in the stone-pelting. 

An Ahemdabad-based rights organization, Minority Coordination Committee has written to the Gujarat police, “We demand action against anti-social elements who in the garb of the religious programs had been trying to disrupt peace and harmony in Gujarat. All CCTV footage in Himmatnagar should be checked and those caught carrying weapons without permission should be booked and arrested.” (as quoted by the Indian Express).

In Madhya Pradesh, when reports of stone-pelting and arson were reported in the Khargone area, a curfew was imposed. Khargone’s District Collector Anurag P said that Section 144 was imposed on the entire city. “Curfew has been clamped in three areas including Talab Chowk and David in the city,” he said, adding that incidents of minor arson occurred following the pelting of stones. According to what NDTV reported, “When the Ram Navami procession started from the Talab Chowk area stones were allegedly pelted at the gathering, prompting the police to fire tear gas shells to control the situation. The procession was supposed to take a round of Khargone city but it was abandoned midway after the violence”, Additional Collector S.S. Mujalde said. 

There were reports on social media recorded where the pictures and videos have gone viral showing houses belonging to poor Muslims being destroyed by JCB Machines. 

Reports of violence on the occasion also came from the state of West Bengal. In Howrah’s Shibpur area there were reports of clashes. Police ensured that they have made necessary arrangements to ensure peace and security during the Ram Navmi processions. However, the BJP which is in the opposition in the state claimed that the police attacked the procession. However, it was fake news and Police responded by asking citizens to not fall into fake news and maintain calm and peace. There were also reports of stone-pelting during the Navami procession in Jharkhand’s Lohardaga area, after which heavy police presence was deployed.

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