Ram Navami celebrations on Sunday were marred by violent communal clashes in some parts of four states Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. While the number of injured has not been ascertained yet, all the areas in the aforesaid states have been kept under strict vigil.
In Madhya Pradesh, at least 10 houses were set ablaze and more than two dozen people, including Superintendent of Police (SP) Siddharth Choudhary, were injured in clashes that erupted during the Ram Navami procession in various areas of Khargone in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday, forcing the administration to impose curfew in some pockets of the city.
According to Khargone District Collector Anugraha P, the first incident of stone pelting was reported around 5 pm, when the Ram Navami procession set out from Talab Chowk locality and had barely moved about 500 meters. The police resorted to lathi-charge and fired teargas shells to control the situation. According to sources, the clash broke out near Talab Chowk mosque when some people opposed the provocative songs being played during the procession. Videos of the incident showed a mob pelting stones at the mosque and homes close to it. The police are seen disbursing the mob.
Condemning the incident, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the rioters have been identified and strict action would be taken against all. Home Minister Narottam Mishra, meanwhile, informed that 77 people have been already arrested in connection with the violence, In Gujarat, communal clashes broke out between two communities in Himmatnagar and Khambhat cities, prompting the police to fire tear gas shells to control mobs who pelted stones at each other and damaged shops and vehicles at both places. Members of two communities hurled stones at each other when a Ram Navami procession reached Chhapariya locality in Himmatnagar city in the Sabarkantha district in the late afternoon, a police official said. “Police fired tear gas shells to control the situation. Later, the additional police force was brought in from outside the city to bring the situation under control,” the official said..
In Khambhat town in the Anand district, a clash broke out during a Ram Navami procession wherein stones were pelted and shops and vehicles were damaged by two groups, a control room official said, adding that tear gas shells were fired, Clashes were also reported in at least two districts of Jharkhand on Sunday evening. The first incident happened in Hirdi village of Lohardaga district at around 5.30 pm. Arvind Kumar Lal, sub-divisional officer, Lohardaga, said CrPC section 144 has been invoked, and “all religious gatherings and processions have been banned”.
According to sources, alleged stone-pelting during a procession led to clashes between two groups. Eight people were injured and three were hospitalized.
Another instance of communal violence was seen in the Bermo area of the Bokaro district during the Ram Navami procession. Details on injuries were not available.
Tension also prevailed in West Bengal’s Shibpur area after a purported provocative speech was made during a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) rally. The police, however, were able to control the situation, According to sources, the members of two communities hurled stones at each other when the rally reached near Panchsheel Apartments around 5 pm. The tension escalated when the rally moved towards Mullick Fatak and Fazir Bazar. Some police personnel and members of the public were injured, it is learned. “We are making efforts for maintaining peace in the city. All are requested to show utmost restraint and discretion while posting anything on social media. They should abstain from spreading rumors about the Shibpur rally. Do not post anything which could disturb social harmony as one could be prosecuted under the law,” Howrah city police posted on their official social media page