Recent riots occurring across India witnessed the increasing levels of intolerance. However, it is also indicating an alarming reality where these riots are being pre-planned and people are being used as scapegoats to fulfill the ulterior motives of few.
Here are some incidents which display a pattern where riots took place which displayed evidence of the riots being fabricated.
New wave of communal riots has jolted various states of India. Ram Navami was celebrated on March 30, 2023 across the country. But the festivities were marred by the incidents of violence were reported.
Several grim visuals were shared across social media. Clashes erupted in Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Gujarat, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. Incidents of stone pelting were also reported in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad and Gujarat’s Vadodara.
Violence and arson was reported in West Bengal’s Howrah district after clashes broke out during Ram Navami festivities were most daunting. Several vehicles were torched and shops were ransacked in Howrah on 30th March’s night.
Visuals from the ground showed the police firing tear gas shells as the mob went on a rampage in the area, pelting stones and even attacking the media.
After a brief respite, tensions resumed on March 31, after fresh instances emerged of stone-throwing in the twin city of Howrah, West Bengal. Since then, 45 people are said to have been arrested.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC were imposed in West Bengal’s Howrah after violence erupted.
Police personnel deployed in Howrah’s Kazipara area came under attack this time around, despite the presence of a large police contingent in the area meant to restore peace.
At least three policemen were injured in the clashes and are undergoing treatment at a nearby hospital, a senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer told PTI.
Political stakeholders have commenced the smear campaign against each other.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said the procession took an unauthorised route “to particularly target and attack one community”. She also batted for Muslim-exclusive ghettos by stating that “kindly avoid the Muslim areas as Ramzan is going on”.
She accused the BJP of hiring goons from outside the state to orchestrate communal riots. “Nobody has stopped their processions, but they do not have the right to march with swords and bulldozers. How did they get the audacity to do this in Howrah?” she said.
TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee claimed that the police permission for the Ram Navami procession was not given.
Leader of the opposition Suvendu Adhikari blamed TMC supremo for the disruption. He filed a public interest litigation on March 31, 2023 in the Calcutta High Court pertaining to the incidents of violence on the Ram Navami processions in Howrah and Dalkhola. Also sought an NIA probe and deployment of central forces in the affected areas through a petition in the Calcutta High Court.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose and took stock of the situation in Howrah where violence broke out on Ram Navami, as per ANI.
West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose issued a statement condemning the violence. “Those who resort to violence under the illusion that they can hoodwink the people will soon realise they are in a fool’s paradise.
There will be effective and concerted action to book the culprits and bring them before the law. Setting fire to public property, that too on the sacred Ram Navami day, is a highly provocative act and will be viewed seriously,” the Bengal Governor said.
This is not the first time that such communal riots have disturbed the social and communal harmony. The religious mob culture has intensified over a span of time. Here are some glimpses of how these incidents have divided the communities.
On June 3 2022, an Islamist mob in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, went on a rampage, pelting stones against ‘Kafir’ Hindus. The irate mob went on a rampage because they were “protesting” against the statements by now sacked BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma.
The visuals from the Kanpur violence that emerged showed a mob of Muslims pelting stones with all their might. At least 40 people, including 20 police personnel, were injured during the clashes. The police had arrested 38 people in connection with the case.
After Friday prayers, the Muslim mob began forcing Hindus in the Beconganj district to close their shops. When they objected, the enraged mob began throwing stones at Hindus. The Islamists insisted on knowing the names of the people, and those who were Hindus were attacked.
The video evidence proved, beyond doubt, that the Muslim mob initiated the violence, angered by the mere presence of Hindus, who did not want to shut their shops to partake in a violent protest against a fellow Hindu. One has to remember that the violence erupted after Jumma Namaz on March 31.
These notorious activities cannot be realised without the help of some well-established nexus. Authorities are probing the possible linkages with organisations like PFI. Some alleged political linkages with Samajwadi Party and Congress have also resurfaced.
In April 2022, after the Alvida Juma, or the last Friday prayers during the Ramzan, at the Jama Masjid in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, a large number of Muslim youths protested on the street, reportedly against the state government’s guideline to not offer namaz on roads. They continued sloganeering for more than half an hour, blocking the road completely. Repeated chants of Allahu-Akbar were heard in the videos.
In April 2022, 13 people were arrested on charges of sedition over raising “azadi” slogans and anti-national slogans at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid after Friday prayers. Jammu and Kashmir charged them under Sections 124A (sedition), and 447 and 120 B (criminal conspiracy). The police said that the accused could be booked under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).
“It also came out during the initial investigation that the accused in furtherance of a well-planned conspiracy had received instructions from Pakistani handlers of terror outfits to disrupt Friday prayers in Jamia Masjid and create a law and order situation by provoking the attendees. Thus Section 120B was also invoked in this case,” police said.
In November 2021, massive anti-Hindu violence broke out in different districts of Maharashtra after Friday prayers. The Mumbai-based Islamist organization Raza Academy had called for the protest.
The protest was called to create nothing but a fake narrative about Tripura’s communal violence. Nashik, Amravati and Nanded district were affected. Heavy stone pelting was reported in Malegaon.
In several cases of violence, violence erupted after Namaz, where the Islamist mob became irate after coming out of the mosque. During the Delhi riots in 2020, there was an image of a mosque in Northeast Delhi where bricks and stones were clearly seen lying around on the roof.
It is rather evident that Islamists are almost always ready with bricks, stones and other weapons in case they need to indulge in violence against either the police force or the Hindu community at large.
The infamous Muzaffarnagar riots that took place in 2013 saw some similar patterns. To check the tide of communal tension, local officials banned public meetings. But, politicians from across parties were determined to exploit the tensions between Hindus and Muslims, and delivered calls-to-action.
After Friday prayers, local leaders from the Congress and BSP delivered incendiary speeches, the police said, to an audience of about 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, in Muzaffarnagar.
The footage shows the agitated crowd leaving the meeting shouting inflammatory slogans, wielding guns, cleavers and batons. As they left the meeting, groups of farmers were attacked. In the next 48 hours, nearly 50 people were killed.
Voicing out opinions and having the right to dissent does not mean arm twisting of facts and narratives.
Unfortunately, misinformation spread by some has distorted the harmony which is essential to create a societal balance. These riots and clashes have exacerbated the distance between the already polarised communities.