On April 2, communal violence broke out in the Hatwara Bazaar area of Karauli. A group of radicalised Muslims, who took positions on the top of buildings, pelted stones at a Shobha Yatra, which was organised to celebrate ‘Nav Samvatsar‘, the first day of Hindu New Year. In a pre-planned way, Muslim radicals set ablaze several Hindu shops and vehicles. Following the violence, the market was closed, and a curfew was imposed in the city.
About 43 people, including police and security personnel, were injured in the mob attack. Four policemen accompanying the Shobha Yatra were also severely injured in the stone-pelting.
According to reports, there were knife marks on the bodies of the injured who were admitted to a local hospital. However, the doctors refused to say anything, and the administration has been trying to play down the incident.
District Collector Dr Mohan Lal Yadav, SP Shailendra Singh Indaulia and DGP ML Lather, took information about the entire incident. Police and security personnel have been deployed in sensitive areas. A force of 600 jawans has also been sent to Karauli “Arson took place in Karauli after the city saw stone-pelting on the rally while it was passing through a Muslim-dominated area. Several bikes and shops were torched,” locals said.
The Rajasthan Police were imposed a curfew, and internet services were shut down.
Meanwhile, Vasundhara Raje, BJP leader and former CM, has criticised the Gehlot’s Government, saying, “This incident of attack could have been averted if the administration had taken precautions before the enthusiastic rally being taken out on the occasion of Nav Samvatsar in Karauli. Communal harmony also deteriorated due to the apathy of the administration. The State Government should take immediate action.”
BJP had alleged that local Congress leaders were involved in the violence. It also alleged that the Islamist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) was behind the violence that broke out in Rajasthan’s Karauli. Calling the incident a “pre-planned conspiracy”, the BJP accused the Congress-led Government in Rajasthan of shielding the culprits
According to the police investigation, Congress Councillor Matloob Ahmed has been identified as the key conspirator in the stone-pelting and violence that flared up in the Hatwara Bazaar. Matloob Ahmed has been charged with stone-pelting, inciting violence, and for organising a mob attack at the bike rally celebrating Hindu New Year. It is to be noted that the police administration was aware of the route of the religious procession.
The Bharatiya Janata Party had alleged that local Congress leaders were involved in the violence. It also alleged that the radical Islamist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) had a role in orchestrating the violence against the Hindu community. The PFI has been working in the area for long and managed to radicalise youth. Calling the incident a “pre-planned conspiracy”, the BJP accused the Congress-led Government in Rajasthan of shielding its people.
“The Congress Government is trying shield its people. Local leaders of Congress have carried out this incident with full planning. The Government and police administration are taking selective action. If they do not arrest, then BJP will soon go for a bigger agitation,” said Dholpur MP Manoj Rajoria.
Constable hailed for saving infant amid violence
A picture of Netresh Sharma, a constable in the Rajasthan Police, holding the infant in his arms and running through fire in Karauli is being widely circulated on social media.
Netresh Kumar has emerged as a hero for saving a child from a house set on fire. When constable Netresh Sharma saw a child weeping inside the house set ablaze by the Muslim mob, he rushed inside, took the child and rushed out. He also helped three women who were trapped flee to safety.
The Rajasthan Government and police have hailed the heroic act of the constable.
“When I reached the house, the three women and the child were in a bad condition. I took the child in my lap and told the woman that to come after me. I brought them to safety about 20 meters away from the burning house and handed the child back to his mother, Netresh said.”
He further added, “Four lives were about to perish before my eyes. Even if I lost my life, it was my duty to save them at any cost. There was no time to think about what would happen to my own life. I will
never forget the terror on the faces of the child and the women.”
BJP leader Shehzad Poonawala also alleged that PFI had written a letter to the Rajasthan Government beforehand, warning of such violence occurring in the district during the Hindu New Year rally, but the Gehlot Government turned a deaf ear.
“PFI wrote a letter in advance to Gehlot Government warning about violence in Karauli. How did they know that there would be violence targeting the Hindu New Year’s Shobha Yatra? Was it Sanyog or Prayog? If PFI knew how did the Rajasthan administration not know? Or did look the other way,” asked Shehzad Poonawala.
According to Hindu organisations, the police and the administration had given them permission to hold procession through that area. The police department was ill-prepared to handle the situation. Hindus businessmen lost their property and vehicles. “It was a pre-planned attack and PFI is involved in this. Several youths sustained serious head injuries as big boulders were stored atop buildings. Unsuspecting Hindus went inside the congested street where they were attacked with stones and blades. The police allowed the criminals to clear the rooftops after the incident,” said a lawyer.
The English media outlets did not cover the incident, as the attack was mounted by Muslims.