A timeline of the communal clashes in April across the country
Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Bihar have reported communal clashes, with the police having arrested some of the accused.
Violence has been reported in seven states and the national capital on the occasions of Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti in April. These states are Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Bihar. The police have arrested some of the accused in these cases, and in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, the shops and homes of those allegedly "accused" have also been demolished. Here is a listicle of the major communal incidents and the action taken by the police.
April 16: Jahangirpuri, New Delhi
Delhi Police have arrested 23 persons including the main accused identified as Sonu alias Yunus, who allegedly opened fire during the clash in northwest Delhi outside a mosque. “We are not going to spare any accused, having direct or indirect link with the incident, and there will be no discrimination on the basis of caste,” Delhi Police commissioner Rakesh Asthana said on Monday.
Special commissioner of police (law and order, zone-1), Dependra Pathak said that one of the accused — identified as 21-year-old Mohammad Aslam alias Khodu alias Aslam Ali, resident of CD Park Jhuggi in Jahangirpuri, and who admitted to firing on the procession — has also been arrested.
Another accused, Mohammad Ansar, 35, resident of B-Block in Jahangirpuri was previously involved in two cases of assault and was also arrested repeatedly under preventive sections, has also been arrested.
The police have decided to book the district president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Prem Sharma, and secretary, Brahm Prakash, for taking the Hanuman Jayanti procession out of the designated area without police permission. They are yet to be arrested. Nine persons, including six policemen, were injured in the clashes on Saturday evening.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed that Pakistan's ISI was behind the communal violence, the Congress asked why no action was taken against persons carrying swords and daggers during the procession. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) asked people to maintain peace in the area. Members of Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind and local shopkeepers requested everyone to maintain peace and harmony.
April 17: Amravati district, Maharashtra
A curfew was imposed in twin cities of Achalpur and Paratwada in Maharashtra’s Amravati district, after members of two communities allegedly pelted stones at each other over the removal of religious flags on Sunday night, the police said on Monday. The police have arrested 30 persons from both communities for stone pelting, in which five constables received injuries. Because of the situation, an indefinite curfew has been imposed.
Madhavrao Garud, police officer-in-charge of Achalpur, said members of a community hoisted religious flags at Khidaki Gate and Dulha Gates of Achalpur city, located 48 km from the Amravati district headquarters, on Saturday on the day of Hanuman Jayanti. Around midnight on Sunday, members of the second community allegedly removed the flags, triggering an altercation between the two sides. Both the groups gradually resorted to stone pelting, Garud said.
Amravati district BJP chief, Nivedita Choudhury, and spokesperson, Shivrai Kulkarni, were detained when they tried to enter Achalpur on Monday. Dinesh Suryavashi, a working committee member of Maharashtra BJP, demanded action against those who removed saffron flags from the gate. Maharashtra home minister, Dilip Walse-Patil, said strict action has been ordered against the perpetrators of communal violence.
April 10: Khargone, Madhya Pradesh
A 28-year-old man died, and 28 people — including Khargone SP Siddhartha Chaudhary — were injured in violent clashes on Ram Navami in Khargone town, after stones were pelted on a Ram Navmi procession following an attempt to hoist a saffron flag on a mosque. The police said that at least 15 houses, 17 vehicles, and five shops were set on fire. The victim was identified as Ibraish Khan, who succumbed to his injuries on April 12 and the police took six days to get his body identified.
After the communal clashes, police registered 47 First Information Reports (FIRs) and arrested 144 people. At least three persons named in the FIRs have claimed that they were not present in Khargone on the day of the violence and their names were wrongly mentioned in the FIRs.
After the clashes, the local administration demolished 57 houses and shops of the so-called accused in the riots, which many Rajasthan chief minister, Ashok Gehlot, termed as discriminatory and against the constitutional norms. However, home minister, Nirottam Mishra, said that houses of only those who could be seen in videos pelting stones were demolished.
April 16: Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh
Fifteen persons were injured in stone-pelting between two groups belonging to different communities during a Hanuman Jayanti procession at Holagunda town in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool district. The stone-pelting continued through Saturday night and Sunday morning. “As many as 89 persons have been taken into custody so far. The police are manning sensitive areas around the clock,” Kurnool Superintendent of Police Ch Sudheer Kumar Reddy, who has been camping in the village.
The police said that the clash happened after some people conducting prayers objected to loud sounds being played during the procession. “This led to slogan-shouting from both sides and subsequent clashes,” he said.
The BJP's Andhra Pradesh unit president, Somu Veerraju, demanded that stringent action be taken against those who pelted stones at the procession whereas the ruling YSR Congress leader, Merugu Nagarjuna, said strict action will be taken against the guilty and accused the BJP of creating communal tension in the state.
April 10: Khambhat, Himmatnagar, Gujarat
On April 10, communal violence was reported from Khambhat in Anand district and Himmatnagar in Sabarkantha district, during Ram Navami processions. In both places, the violence occurred during the processions. A 65-year-old died during the violence in Khambhat.
In Khambhat, the police said, the violence was influenced by social media messages and instigating videos. “The Hindu community takes out processions to celebrate Ram Navami. To stop these celebrations and increase the dominance of the Muslim community in the area, the procession was attacked," Anand district police said in a media statement.
The police have arrested 11 persons for Khambhat violence including a priest.
In Himmatnagar, in which eight persons sustained injuries in the clashes, the police fired tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. The stone-pelting started again on April 11. The Rapid Action Force was deployed in Himmatnagar.
Vishal Vaghela, SP, Sabarkantha, said 30 persons have been arrested and 250 more for arson and rioting. The district administration also demolished the shops of some of the accused claiming that they were on government land.
For the Anand district and Himmatnagar violence, the police said it was pre-planned. Dipsinh Shankarsinh Rathod, BJP Member of Parliament (MP) from Sabarkantha also claimed that the Himmatnagar and Anand incidents were pre-planned. Hyderabad MP, Asaduddin Owaisi, said in a tweet that Hindutva mobs, with the blessing of cops, provoked/participated in violence in several places, including Khambhat and Himmatnagar in Gujarat. Congress spokesperson, Manish Doshi, blamed the district administration for the riots saying that allowing religious processions through sensitive areas is like starting a fire and then waiting for the fire to spread before dousing it.
April 11: Keonjhar, Odisha
The police said that, on the day of Ram Navami on April 10, a group of Bajrang Dal workers wanted to take out an Akhada procession carrying flags to a Shiva temple in the town, which was denied permission by the authorities.
However, on Monday, the police allowed only 4-5 people to take flags to the Shiva temple. Clashes broke out on Monday when four-to-five Bajarang Dal members were passing through Baneikela Market when some members of the minority community allegedly obstructed them. As clashes broke out, 10-12 persons from both sides were injured, leading to the promulgation of the prohibitory order, under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC). Five persons have been booked.
April 16: Hubballi, Karnataka
Forty persons were arrested after Saturday night violence in old Hubballi city following a social media post. A police inspector sustained critical injuries and 10 others, minor ones, the police said. A few vehicles were also burnt, said Hubballi police commissioner Labhu Ram, adding that an FIR has been lodged in the case.
The police commissioner said that the person who has been arrested shared a post on social media, following which people from other religious groups took objection and lodged a police complaint. Not satisfied with the arrest, people gathered around the local police station and pelted stones. They also damaged police vehicles, Ram said, adding that a baton charge was used to disperse them.
Karnataka home minister, Araga Jnanendra, said, “Insistence of a community led to the violence in Hubballi after a social media post.” Siddaramaiah, the leader of the Opposition said, “Even those who resorted to violence are wrong. Punish those who have committed the crime and do not arrest innocents.” His statements came after several parents complained that their children who were arrested were innocent. Priyank Kharge, former minister and Congress legislator, termed the incident as an “intelligence failure” in the home district of the home minister.
April 10: Muzaffarpur, Bihar
Clashes broke out in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur town after a social media post of a saffron flag hoisted on a religious site during the Ram Navami procession. The police said the post triggered violence at Paru and Kathaiya police stations and additional security forces were deployed. Muzaffarpur senior superintendent, Jayant Kant, said a case has been lodged for carrying out a procession without police permission. There were no major injuries during clashes, he said.