During Ram Navami celebrations in different parts of India, clashes broke out between members of two communities. A pattern emerged as the sequence of events across the country appeared to be similar on the same evening.
Ram Navami is a significant religious festival in the Hindu community, celebrated on the birth anniversary of Lord Rama, who is considered one of the most revered deities in Hinduism.
On this day, Hindus celebrate by visiting temples, offering prayers, and performing puja (worship). It is also a tradition to distribute food to the needy, organize processions, and recite the Ramayana.
Several incidents of communal clashes were reported in different parts of the country during the celebration of Ram Navami, which took place on 28 March.
The clashes resulted in injuries and damage to property. Sporadic incidents of violence continued on 29 and 30 March in some areas.
Howrah, West Bengal
Communal clashes erupted in West Bengal’s Howrah district during a Ram Navami rally in the Sankrail area. Members of the Swami Vivekananda Seva Sangh were seen carrying swords and hockey sticks during the rally, which led to confrontations with police.
The situation worsened, resulting in the torching of several vehicles. To prevent further unrest, a heavy police force was deployed to the area.
In West Bengal, BJP and RSS leaders led processions, while the RSS organized around 1,000 small and large rallies in the state. Thousands of people participated in these processions in Howrah, Kharagpur, Barrackpore, Bhadreswar, Siliguri and Asansol, chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans.
The processions featured drumbeats, saffron flags and large cutouts of Lord Ram. Some participants were seen carrying swords and trishulas.
The Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee had previously warned right-wing organizations against conducting processions through Muslim-dominated areas, in light of potential violence.
Banerjee stated that Muslims are currently observing Ramzan and cannot be involved in any wrongdoing. She also referred to the recent clash in Howrah during a Ram Navami rally, using the term “danga (riot)” in her speech several times.
On Thursday, officials reported that at least 12 people were injured in Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar (earlier known as Aurangabad), Maharashtra, including 10 police personnel, when a group of around 500 people threw stones and petrol-filled bottles at the police.
The violence erupted after a clash between two groups near a Ram temple, and the police were attempting to control the situation.
The Police Commissioner, Nikhil Gupta, stated that the incident lasted for around an hour, during which six or seven vehicles were also damaged. The identity of the attackers remains unknown.
According to ANI, a clash erupted on Tuesday between Hindus and Muslims in Paldhi town in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district. The incident occurred after songs were played on loudspeakers during a religious procession while namaz was being offered at a nearby mosque. The police were called to the scene to control the situation.
The argument turned violent and resulted in stone-pelting. The police superintendent said that the music was stopped when the procession crossed the mosque but was restarted after that, which led to the stone-pelting.
Mathura, Uttar Pradesh
During Ram Navami celebrations in Mathura, a group of Hindu extremists with saffron flags climbed the wall of a mosque outside Jama Masjid on Wednesday.
Videos of the incident showed the group raising slogans and brandishing swords and sticks. The police have reportedly arrested five individuals in connection with the incident.
On the occasion of Ram Navami in Gujarat’s Vadodara, a stone-pelting incident was reported. However, the police confirmed that the situation has been brought under control and peace has been restored in the area.
In Kumbharwada, a procession organized by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) was attacked, while another procession organized by local residents was taking place. BJP MLA Manisha Vakil was among those who were part of the procession that came under attack.
According to Vakil, the procession was passing peacefully when some people started throwing stones, injuring some women who were part of the procession. Videos of the incident showed people running for shelter as stones were being thrown.
The police are trying to maintain law and order, and the Minister of State for Home, Harsh Sanghavi, called Vakil to take stock of the situation.
A chariot carrying a Ram idol was moved to a safe location as stones came from nearby terraces. The city police commissioner, Shamsher Singh, visited the Kumbharwada area after the incident.
The initial incident occurred near Fatehpura’s Panjrigar mohalla in the afternoon, followed by a second incident at night in nearby Kumbharwada. While the Fatehpura incident did not result in any injuries, a group of people in Kumbharwada threw stones and injured several people, including women.
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