Conflicts & War

Arrests, curfews follow clashes on religious festival in India

New Delhi, Apr 11 (EFE).- Scores of people were arrested and restrictions were imposed in several parts of India on Monday, a day after clashes were registered during the celebrations of a Hindu religious festival, in a backdrop of growing religious tensions.

The states of Gujarat (west), Madhya Pradesh (center), Jharkhand (east) and Bengal (east) recorded incidents of violence between members of the Hindu majority and the Muslim minority during Sunday’s celebration of the festival known as Ram Navami, which marks the birth of the Hindu God, Ram.

Moreover, the renowned Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the capital city of New Delhi also witnessed clashes.

The authorities on Monday arrested dozens of people in Khargone city in Madhya Pradesh, and imposed restrictions in the wake of the clashes.

“Curfew has been imposed in Talab Chowk area and some other parts of the city. As of now, indefinite curfew has been imposed to maintain peace,” Khargone Additional District Magistrate Sumer Singh Mujalda told the media.

“There have been incidents of stone throwing and fires. Police has had to use tear gas,” he added.

The official said the situation was brought under control, however he did not explain how the violence broke out.

Khargone Deputy Inspector General of Police Tilak Singh said that between 60 and 70 people have been taken into custody in the town, according to local ANI agency.

While several groups claim that Hindu nationalist organizations use these religious processions to stoke religious tensions, a leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed these were “preplanned” attacks on the processions.

“The attacks (on the processions) are being justified by saying the songs and flags were provocative. These attacks are preplanned: stones, weapons, bombs are being prepared in advance,” claimed Kapil Mishra.

Other states such as Bengal also witnessed clashes related to the processions, and the Times of India newspaper reported the arrest of 17 activists of the ruling BJP.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University, perceived to harbor views critical of the Indian government, was also registered student violence on Sunday.

The leftist All India Students Association (AISA) reported that members of the ABVP students union, linked to the BJP, tried to prevent meat being cooked and served during Ram Navami in a hostel mess, and attacked university students.

“ABVP does it again. First they tried to impose non veg ban to everybody in Kaveri Hostel, and when common students stood up against #FoodFascism, the Sanghi (Hindu extremist) goons resorted to all out violence,” tweeted AISA Working General Secretary Praneet Kumar.

The ABVP has alleged that the left-wing students tried to stop a religious ceremony in honor of Lord Ram.

The clashes took place against the backdrop of controversies related to communal issues in the Hindu-majority country, such as the recent ban on hijab or Islamic veil in schools in the southern state of Karnataka. EFE


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