Conflicts & War

HRW expresses concern about outbreak of religious violence in India

New Delhi, Apr 6 (EFE).- International nonprofit Human Rights Watch (HRW) expressed concern on Thursday about the recent outbreak of religious violence in India during a popular Hindu festival, which resulted in the death of one person, and blamed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for inciting such riots.

“India’s Hindu festivals are increasingly being used by the ruling Hindu majoritarian Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to rally voters, leading to an increase in violence. These mobs are emboldened by a sense of political patronage that affords them impunity,” HRW said in a statement.

The nonprofit denounced the communal clashes that erupted in India last week during the celebrations of the Hindu festival of Ram Navami, which marks the birth of Hindu god, Rama.

HRW pointed out that these clashes, which resulted in the death of one person and the arrest of hundreds of people across India, were mostly started by Hindu mobs who, in some cities, passed through Muslim neighborhoods “brandishing weapons and shouting anti-Muslim slogans.”

One person died in the northern Bihar state on Saturday evening and 130 people were arrested after the torching of a 100-year-old library of a madrasa in the district sparked communal clashes, Nalanda district’s Police Superintendent Ashok Mishra told Indian news agency ANI.

The authorities imposed section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in the district, which bans gatherings of more than four people, among other measures, and suspended internet services for several days.

There have been multiple incidents in the West Bengal state since the day of the festival, when clashes broke out between two groups in the Howrah district and several vehicles were torched, leading to the arrest of 37 people, according to local newspaper, The Times of India.

“The BJP governments at every level have adopted discriminatory laws and policies targeting religious minorities, and its leaders and affiliates make frequent anti-minority remarks, including inciting violence,” HRW said.

It also pointed out that during similar clashes in the past in states ruled by the BJP, the authorities did not try to stop the Hindu groups, but instead responded by “summarily demolishing Muslim properties.”

The Indian authorities remained on alert on Thursday amid the celebration of another Hindu holiday, on which several clashes between Hindus and Muslims had broken out in the north of the capital city of New Delhi last year. EFE


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