A day after communal clashes broke out over Ram Navami celebrations in West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Bihar, fresh incidents of violence were reported from Bengal and Bihar on Friday, while situation remained tense in all the affected States.
Another spell of stone pelting were witnessed in Howrah’s Kazipara on Friday, a day after violence and arson broke out in this industrial suburb. At least three policemen were injured in stone pelting. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC have have clamped in Kazipara. Altogether 45 people were arrested in connection with the violence since Thursday.
A huge team of Rapid Action Force (RAF) from Kolkata Police was brought into the area on Friday afternoon. The personnel started a route march following the stone-throwing incidents.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor CV Ananda Bose reviewed the situation and prohibitory orders were imposed. Union Home Minister Amit Shah also dialled the West Bengal Governor to enquire about the security situation in the town situated across the Hooghly river opposite Kolkata.
A press statement from Raj Bhavan said Governor Bose asked the State Government to “ensure fool proof arrangements to maintain law and order effectively” besides action to be taken “against miscreants.”
In Bihar’s Biharsharif of Nalanda district, vehicles, thatched houses and shops were torched and several people injured in communal flare-ups reported over Ram Navami processions on Friday. On Thursday, Sasaram had seen communal clashes over Ram Navami procession.
A minor child also sustained gunshot injuries. Four other persons also sustained injuries. They were admitted in Sadar hospital and they are said to be out of danger. The violence was triggered during the Ram Navami Shobha Yatra started from Labour Welfare Centre on Friday evening. When it reached Kanta area, some persons pelted stones from the rooftops, and this led to stampede-like situation and then, clashes.
A clash broke out between two groups following a spat during a Ram Navami Shobha Yatra near Shahi Masjid in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow.
In Gujarat, police have detained 24 persons for allegedly hurling stones at two Ram Navami processions in communally-sensitive areas in Vadodara city, a top official said on Friday. The incidents had occurred on Thursday when Ram Navami was celebrated.
Stones were hurled at two separate Ram Navami processions when they were passing through the city’s communally-sensitive areas of Fatehpura and nearby Kumbharwada. At least two persons were injured in stone-pelting by a mob at Kumbharwada, the police said. Local BJP MLA Manisha Vakil was part of the procession which came under attack at Kumbharwada. In some videos of the incident aired by new channels, people can be seen running for shelter during stone pelting, while a chariot that was carrying a statue of Lord Ram, was also pulled away to a safer place by the devotees to save it from stones.
In Maharashtra, violence erupted in Aurangabad, Malad and Jalgaon. As many as 21 persons have been arrested so far in connection with the stone pelting at a Ram Navami procession in suburban Malad (West), police said on Friday. The tensions on Thursday night began following disputes over the loud DJ music being played in the procession as it was passing through the vicinity of mosques in Malvani area, a police official said. An FIR has been registered against nearly 300 identified and unidentified persons at the Malvani police station, he said.
As the volume of music was not lowered, there was some slogan-shouting and one of the men who had objected to loud music allegedly hurled a stone at the procession and it hit a participant, he added. Police personnel deputed for security along the route immediately took the man who had thrown the stone into custody, he said.
As per the FIR, when the procession was near the Ali Hazrat mosque around 8.45 pm, a mob of 200 to 250 persons began to pelt stones. As police tried to bring the situation under control, some people in the mob hurled stones at them and manhandled some police personnel, the FIR said.