On February 15, Panki village of Palamu in Jharkhand saw heavy deployment of guards after two groups clashed with each other over installation of an archway for the upcoming festival of Maha Shivaratri.
According to the locals, the scuffle broke up when members of the Muslim community objected to the gate being installed at a distance of 120 meter from the Jama mosque.
Eyewitnesses recall that on the night of February 14, a few members of the Hindu community reached the spot to build a temporary decorative gate in view of the upcoming festival. However, some members of the Muslim community raised objections and asked that the gate be shifted to some other place.
Learning about this incident, members of the local temple committee decided to discuss the matter with the Muslim community the next morning. However, when the committee members reached the spot to discuss things peacefully, members of the other community refused to listen and attacked one member of the temple committee. This led to clashes between the two communities, which left at least a dozen injured including police personnel.
Misusing Mosque To Pelt Stones
Heavy stone pelting was also reported from the nearby mosque. It is learnt that Hindus of the locality had also contributed in the construction of the mosque. The police lathi charged the Hindus and have so far arrested a dozen people from both communities. Some houses and vehicles parked in the vicinity were torched at the time of the incident.
Organiser Weekly spoke to the local BJP leader Laal Suraj, a resident of Kondhwa, who confirmed that the “members of the Hindu community were only conveying that if the procession is to pass through this route how can the archway be erected at a different location.”
A similar gate was installed there on the 31st of last month when a yagya was held in the locality, though at that time no objection was raised by the local Muslims. I have no idea why they are raising objections before the Maha Shivaratri festival, added Laal.
In a bid to term the incident as Islamophobic, Asaduddin Owaisi, chief of the AIMIM, blamed the BJP and the RSS for disrupting peace in the region. Astonishingly, the leader’s comments came even though the ruckus had been started from the other side.
No Justification For Arresting Hindus
Speaking with Organiser Weekly, Vinod Bansal, spokesperson and senior leader of Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), while launching a series of attacks on the Soren Government, asked: “Are the Hindus not allowed to celebrate their festivals under the current government in Jharkhand. The Hindu community was trying to install an archway, that too far away from the said mosque but after the clashes erupted, Hindus were also beaten up and arrested.”
Vinod Bansal further said, “Look what is going on in Deoghar. The administration has issued prohibitory order on the day of Maha Shivratri. I want to ask the Soren Government where else in the world Shivaji’s procession can be carried out if it is not allowed in the Holy city of Deoghar? I wanted to remind the government and the anti-India forces that Hindu society is a tolerant one but it can respond if its patience is tested.”
A delegation of the VHP will soon visit Panki, informed Bansal. The route for the Maha Shivaratri procession been changed. However, the summering tension can still be sensed. The administration, on the other hand, claims that the situation is under control and efforts are on to nab the culprits at earliest. As per the latest reports, the administration has also held separate peace committee meetings with both communities.
Despite the tall claims of the administration, the Hindus in the locality are feeling dejected by the Government’s response. The locals, while expressing their anguish before the local MLA Dubey who paid a visit to the area on February 15, said that if the ruckus has been started by the other side why the local administration is indulged in balancing things out.
It is worth mentioning that Jharkhand has been the epicentre of the communal flare-ups ever since the Soren government was sworn in where communal scuffles during the festivals of Hindus has more or less become a common phenomenon.