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Gujarat: Locals blame election politics for Ram Navami violence

Gujarat locals say they suspected violence in light of upcoming state elections but had no one to turn to

Vallari Sanzgiri 11 Apr 2022

Ram Navami violence
Image courtesy: India TV

“Everyone knew something will happen during this year’s Ram Navami procession, but we could do nothing,” said ex-Municipal Councillor Musavvir Yamani told SabrangIndia on April 11, 2022 after visiting various places in Khambat, Gujarat where communal conflicts took place. Although clashes and injuries reigned supreme across India on Sunday amidst various Ram Navami rallies, people of Gujarat condemned the government for taking zero initiative to curb such communal conflagration.

Speaking specifically of Khambat, the three-time elected MC said the yatra is an annual event in the region. However, in sight of upcoming elections, organisers asked for the procession to tour the whole of Khambat town in Anand district. “Ideally, they should not have been given this permission. But the police did and did not arrange for security,” said Yamani.

According to the Indian Express, one person was found dead after incidents of stone pelting and arson. Yamani added that another person is hospitalised aside from the 100 to 150 houses of people from minority communities whose homes were stoned. Further, he alleged that shops and houses of Muslims were robbed and set on fire by people as soon as the procession reached the Sardar tower. Many minority folk live in that region.

Having worked as an MC and a reporter, Yamani received many distress calls from people in the locality. Some even complained about the miscreants brandishing swords, lathis and similar weapons. Anguished he asked, “Where did these people get these weapons and even petrol? If it was simply a religious procession, how did they suddenly get weapons and fuel necessary for this arson?”

Yamani squarely blamed the incident on local politics in light of upcoming Gujarat elections in the summer. Two days before the incident, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) conducted a similar rally in the region. A thousand people and a local MLA joined this rally that set a tense environment in the area. He accused the party of riling up such hate because it “has nothing to say on real issues.”

As for the police, locals told Yamani that houses and shops outside police stations were torched at the time. Yet, the police did little to assist people. The chaos finally ended when the police resorted to lathi-charge and tear-gassing.

Unfortunately, the aggressions had already spread to other regions like Himmatnagar where two successive rallies resulted in stone-pelting between two communities that injured many including police officials. Despite all this, police are yet to confirm an FIR regarding the whole ordeal.

In Vadodara, the Ram Navami procession stopped outside mosques. While no physical violence broke out, local Hamid Khatri said that even when right-wing members try to create trouble, the police look the other way.

What's worse, certain news media also sympathised with the groups organising the rally that was interrupted, rather than the impact of the violence of injured people from the minority community, and those whose properties were destroyed by rally participants. Some even glossed over pertinent facts of the story such as provocation via communal slogans. Ahmedabad Mirror's headline “Ram Navami procession targetted in 3 districts, one person loses life” conveniently glosses over the possible provocation factor via communal slogans. The article talked about stone-pelting on the rally “near a Muslim-dominated area” owing to reasons like “high volume”. However, the article neither mentioned the injured among the minority community, nor about the minority-owned shops that were burnt down, or even the fact that fuel to set properties on fire was readily available to participants of a religious procession.

Similarly, persistent supporters of the right ideology, OpIndia and India TV also used titles like “Ram Navami procession attacked in Howrah, several participants injured” and “Ram Navami processions attacked in Gujarat, Jharkhand, Bengal; vehicles set on fire, shops damaged”.

As state elections and the summer heat draws closer, communal confrontations in Gujarat appear to be reaching a boiling point.

Related:

Communal confrontations mar Ram Navami celebrations in five states

Sheath the swords, while there is still time!

Rajasthan: All you need to know about the Karauli violence

Bajrang Muni Das openly threatens Muslim women with sexual assault

Right-wing’s dangerous obsession with mosques and dargahs peaks during Ramzan

Gujarat:  Antarashtriya Hindu Parishad is stage for anti-Muslim abuse, trident distribution

Gujarat: Locals blame election politics for Ram Navami violence

Gujarat locals say they suspected violence in light of upcoming state elections but had no one to turn to

Ram Navami violence
Image courtesy: India TV

“Everyone knew something will happen during this year’s Ram Navami procession, but we could do nothing,” said ex-Municipal Councillor Musavvir Yamani told SabrangIndia on April 11, 2022 after visiting various places in Khambat, Gujarat where communal conflicts took place. Although clashes and injuries reigned supreme across India on Sunday amidst various Ram Navami rallies, people of Gujarat condemned the government for taking zero initiative to curb such communal conflagration.

Speaking specifically of Khambat, the three-time elected MC said the yatra is an annual event in the region. However, in sight of upcoming elections, organisers asked for the procession to tour the whole of Khambat town in Anand district. “Ideally, they should not have been given this permission. But the police did and did not arrange for security,” said Yamani.

According to the Indian Express, one person was found dead after incidents of stone pelting and arson. Yamani added that another person is hospitalised aside from the 100 to 150 houses of people from minority communities whose homes were stoned. Further, he alleged that shops and houses of Muslims were robbed and set on fire by people as soon as the procession reached the Sardar tower. Many minority folk live in that region.

Having worked as an MC and a reporter, Yamani received many distress calls from people in the locality. Some even complained about the miscreants brandishing swords, lathis and similar weapons. Anguished he asked, “Where did these people get these weapons and even petrol? If it was simply a religious procession, how did they suddenly get weapons and fuel necessary for this arson?”

Yamani squarely blamed the incident on local politics in light of upcoming Gujarat elections in the summer. Two days before the incident, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) conducted a similar rally in the region. A thousand people and a local MLA joined this rally that set a tense environment in the area. He accused the party of riling up such hate because it “has nothing to say on real issues.”

As for the police, locals told Yamani that houses and shops outside police stations were torched at the time. Yet, the police did little to assist people. The chaos finally ended when the police resorted to lathi-charge and tear-gassing.

Unfortunately, the aggressions had already spread to other regions like Himmatnagar where two successive rallies resulted in stone-pelting between two communities that injured many including police officials. Despite all this, police are yet to confirm an FIR regarding the whole ordeal.

In Vadodara, the Ram Navami procession stopped outside mosques. While no physical violence broke out, local Hamid Khatri said that even when right-wing members try to create trouble, the police look the other way.

What's worse, certain news media also sympathised with the groups organising the rally that was interrupted, rather than the impact of the violence of injured people from the minority community, and those whose properties were destroyed by rally participants. Some even glossed over pertinent facts of the story such as provocation via communal slogans. Ahmedabad Mirror's headline “Ram Navami procession targetted in 3 districts, one person loses life” conveniently glosses over the possible provocation factor via communal slogans. The article talked about stone-pelting on the rally “near a Muslim-dominated area” owing to reasons like “high volume”. However, the article neither mentioned the injured among the minority community, nor about the minority-owned shops that were burnt down, or even the fact that fuel to set properties on fire was readily available to participants of a religious procession.

Similarly, persistent supporters of the right ideology, OpIndia and India TV also used titles like “Ram Navami procession attacked in Howrah, several participants injured” and “Ram Navami processions attacked in Gujarat, Jharkhand, Bengal; vehicles set on fire, shops damaged”.

As state elections and the summer heat draws closer, communal confrontations in Gujarat appear to be reaching a boiling point.

Related:

Communal confrontations mar Ram Navami celebrations in five states

Sheath the swords, while there is still time!

Rajasthan: All you need to know about the Karauli violence

Bajrang Muni Das openly threatens Muslim women with sexual assault

Right-wing’s dangerous obsession with mosques and dargahs peaks during Ramzan

Gujarat:  Antarashtriya Hindu Parishad is stage for anti-Muslim abuse, trident distribution

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