Communal tension flares up in 3 more states, 140 arrested
On Sunday, the police in the three states conducted flag marches to bring the situation under control while prohibitory restrictions were also imposed in affected areas.
Nearly 140 people have been arrested in connection with incidents of communal violence and rioting in three states — Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka — on Saturday, when Hindu festival Hanuman Jayanti was celebrated, police said on Sunday.
On Sunday, the police in the three states conducted flag marches to bring the situation under control while prohibitory restrictions were also imposed in affected areas. According to police, at least 300 people have been named in several first information reports (FIRs) lodged in connection with violence and riots in the three states.
This is the second round of communal violence this month after similar incidents were reported from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh on occasion of Ram Navmi on April 9 and 10. During both the festivals, huge processions by Hindu groups were taken out through communally sensitive areas, resulting in clashes between the two groups.
In Uttarakhand’s Roorkee, 114 people were booked on Sunday after stones were pelted on a religious procession (Shoba Yatra) being carried out on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti at Danda Jalalpur village in Haridwar district on Saturday evening allegedly by Muslim groups. Some of those from the Hindu group participating in the procession also threw stones and burned a car and a two-wheeler, police said, adding that six people sustained injuries in the incident and were sent to the Roorkee civil hospital.
Haridwar police said nine people were arrested late on Sunday evening.
The Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) along with state police personnel have been deployed in and around the village. “We have lodged a case against 14 named people and 100-odd unknown accused,” said PD Bhatt, station house officer, Bhagwanpur police station.
Police said on the complaint of Pawan Kumar and Chandraveer, both residents of village Danda Jalalpur, the case was registered at Bhagwanpur police station. The case has been lodged under Indian Penal Code sections 147(rioting), 148 (armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly with common objective) 323 (voluntarily causing hurt ),153 A (promoting enmity on the grounds of religion) and 295 A (deliberate, malicious act to outrage religious feelings).
To ensure peace in the area, district magistrate Vinay Shankar Pandey and Senior Superintendent of police (Haridwar ) Yogendra Singh Rawat also held a peace meeting at Bhagwanpur police station with representatives from both sides and senior citizens. Deputy inspector general of Garhwal division Karan Singh Nangiyal also arrived in the village on Sunday and conducted a peace meeting with representatives of different religious groups.
In Andhra Pradesh, at least 15 people were injured in stone pelting between two Hindu and Muslim groups during the Hanuman Jayanti procession at Holagunda town in Kurnool district. Police said the stone pelting continued even on Sunday at a village close to the Karnataka border.
“The situation is absolutely peaceful now. As many as 89 people have been taken into custody so far. We are closely monitoring the situation,” said Kurnool superintendent of police Chaudhary Sudheer Kumar Reddy. A senior officer at Holagunda police station said the incident took place around 6.30pm on Saturday when the Hanuman Jayanti procession was passing through the Erla Katta area in the town.
“Some people were praying at a place of worship in the area and objected to loud sounds being played during the procession. Soon, slogans were raised from both sides and escalated to clashes. Both sides indulged in stone pelting for some time, causing minor injuries to at least 15 persons. The police rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control,” the officer said, asking not to be named.
On Sunday morning, too, the two groups indulged in stone pelting and the situation was quickly brought under control with additional police forces rushing to the spot. “We have set up a police picket to prevent any untoward incidents,” the officer added. In Karnataka, at least 40 people have been arrested in connection with violence late on Saturday night in the old city part of Hubballi following an objectionable social media post. A mob surrounded the police and attacked them, said Karnataka home minister Araga Jnanendra. A police inspector is reported to be in a serious condition while at least 10 people have been admitted with minor injuries in local hospitals.
“An FIR was filed on Saturday night. Some policemen have been injured, the mob damaged police vehicles. The mob was soon dispersed, but later they pelted stones in some other areas of the city,” said Hubballi police commissioner Labhu Ram.