Emboldened by no action by the Rajasthan Government, Muslim mobs unleashed violence on innocent Hindus on May 2
On May 3, Jodhpur faced sporadic violence in different areas. Tension had erupted on the intervening night of May 2 and May 3 when a Muslim mob not only replaced a Saffron flag with an Islamic flag at the Jalori intersection in the heart of the city but also taped the face of a statue of freedom fighter Balmukund Bissa.
On May 3, while a large number of Muslims were returning after Namaz, some of them started damaging vehicles and pelting stones. According to a report, rioters had come prepared to create law and order problems in the city. They threw acid-filled bottles at houses of Hindus. After reaching Bas Colony, the rioters pelted stones and raised religious slogans in the area. Reports suggest they also harassed women in the area. The residents of Bas Colony rushed outside with batons to shoo the rioters away.
When protested by other communities, they pelted stones and damaged shops, ATMs and shops, leaving many innocents injured while others were seen running for their lives. Even the police team which went to the venue to control the furious mob was attacked, leaving four of them seriously injured.
A seven-year-old girl, Manya, was not spared and was hit upon by a rod when she was standing outside her house. The poor girl is still in a shock and is yet to speak to someone. Starting on the night of May 2, the violence continued till May 3 at midnight even though the State Government had clamped curfew in 10 Police Stations and suspended internet services. Also, they had to shell tear gas to disperse the crowd, but the violence and riots continued for over 24 hours.
Around 1,000 police personnel had to be deputed in the district to control the situation. The violence erupted when an Islamic flag was hoisted at Jalori Gate Circle late on Monday night, that is, on the eve of the birth anniversary of Bhagwan Parshuram.
The flags were put up on the statue of freedom fighter Malmukund Bissa at Jalori Gate after removing saffron flags being hurled to celebrate Parshuram Jayanti. When another community protested against it, their shops were vandalised, stones were pelted, and vehicle glasses were smashed too.
One Deepak Singh was stabbed by a knife; he was out to buy medicines for his grandfather. He noticed some rioters and started making a video of them. His actions irked the rioters who chased him. Deepak was rushed to the hospital, where the doctors removed the knife during surgery. A few policemen were injured too. Dozens of cars and two vehicles were damaged, and two ATMs were destroyed too. A bike was turned into ashes near the residence of MLA Suryakanta Vyas.
Speaking to leading daily, several Police officials accepted that there was a lack of preparation. Police Commissioner Navjyoti Gogoi said, “The police force was not adequate compared to the crowd that worsened the situation.”
ADG Law and Order Hawa Singh Ghumariya said, “We will investigate where the Police lacked in managing the situation.” DCP West Vandita Rana said they acted on the three terms of peace. Namaz was not allowed at the intersection. Tricolur was hoisted after removing the Islamic flag. The police acted as per the plan. “We will investigate where we lacked,” she added.
BJP state president Satish Poonia said, “Why do such incidents happen only in States ruled by Congress Governments? This means that chaotic elements get protection. On the one hand, they allow PFI to rally in Kota; on the other hand, Ram Navami and Hindu New Year processions are banned, and Section 144 is imposed in 17 districts during these festivals.”
Meanwhile, CM Gehlot dismissed the incident as riots and said that the State Government was able to control the incident on time. “We stopped riots from happening in Rajasthan,” he added.
Reacting to CM’s statement, Satish Poonia said, “The Chief Minister said that there was no riot. If stone pelting, breaking young men’s legs, smashing vehicles, pelting stones, arson, waving swords, imposing curfew etc., is not a riot, then what it is, Mr Home Minister?”
Meanwhile, it needs to be mentioned here that this was the second incident reported, as earlier in April, stones were pelted on a procession being taken out in Karauli on the occasion of Hindu Nav Varsh. The incident again resulted in clashes when the two communities came face-to-face. Many vehicles and shops were set ablaze, and dozens were left injured in the incident.
Poonia also wrote a letter to Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra, drawing his attention to the anarchy and animosity being spread in the State due to appeasement politics played by Congress. In his letter, he demanded strict action against the rioters. He also wrote about the plight of the majority community, which is silently bearing the pains of being unable to celebrate their festivals.
Earlier in April, a group of radicalised Muslim youth positioned atop buildings attacked Hindus undertaking a Shobha Yatra to celebrate Hindu Nav Varsh (April 2) in Rajasthan’s Karauli, leaving scores injured. The pre-planned attack was orchestrated by Congress leaders with support of Islamists.