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Riots outside Gujarat
By Danish A Khan

The stench of burnt human flesh has been so overpowering and widespread that many parts of India have been infected. There are attempts to repeat Gujarat elsewhere in the country.

The ongoing violence in Gujarat is taking its grim toll in other states of the country. The ramifications have been intense and widespread. The North Indian state of Haryana came under the spell of communal frenzy this time. In Karimpur village of Baghpat district at least 21 people were injured when people from the Hindu and Muslim communities resorted to brickbatting on the occasion of Holi. Two Hindus who were playing colours allegedly caught hold of one Nizam, a Muslim youth, and applied colours on his face by force. This resulted in the beating up of the two people involved and later on led to group clashes between the two communities resulting into communal tensions. 

The state of Uttar Pradesh also witnessed stray incidents of communal violence. A mazaar was allegedly desecrated and a copy of the Holy Qur’an burnt, in the district of Bahraich by miscreants sparking off retaliation with a mob attacking places of worship, setting ablaze vehicles and throwing stones at the police in the Ghantaghar post office area forcing authorities to clamp prohibitory orders, according to Deputy Inspector of Police Gurbachan Lal. Nearly 130 persons were arrested. 

In Rampur district, the alert district and police administration foiled attempts by miscreants to spread communal tension. However, two persons were killed and several injured in the district on the occasion of Holi.

The city of the Taj Mahal - Agra - was also not spared from the ensuing communal frenzy. Miscreants made futile attempts to burn the ‘shahi darwaza’ of Shahi Jama Masjid, whereas, at another place in the district stones were pelted on a mosque and at least four shops belonging to the Muslims were ransacked on 28 March.

In Rajasthan, communal riots broke out on the occasion of Yaum-e-Ashura (10th of Muharram). Incidents of arson in Gangapur City of Sawai Madhopur district after the police firing on an unruly mob blocking the route of Muharram procession claimed the lives of three people and left about 70 injured. Indefinite curfew was clamped in the town to bring the situation under control. In another incident, desecration of a Mosque in the Chittorgarh district on 1 April led to communal tension.

Even in central India, the state of Madhya Pradesh could not escape from the communal fury. In Khandwa town communal riots broke out between Hindus and Muslims. Three of the worst affected localities were brought under curfew and the situation was brought under control.

In eastern India, the states of West Bengal and Jharkhand were also affected by the communal tension which has taken a major part of the country in its wake. In the Keshpur area of Midnapore West district in West Bengal tensions ran high after one person was killed and three others were injured in a communal clash on 30 March.

The communally-sensitive state of Jharkhand was also not to be left behind. Nearly 23 people were injured, five of them seriously in a clash between Holi revelers and a group of Muslims emerging from a local mosque after Friday prayers. The trouble took place in Madanpur village of the Ichak police station, nearly 35 km away from Hazaribagh district of the state on 29 March. Patrolling had been intensified in the area and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Cr. PC have been promulgated.

In the Western Indian state of Maharashtra, communal riots broke out in the district of Akola. According to reports, a Hindu woman was stabbed to death and her two-and-a-half-year old son left grievously injured by a mob in the old city on 30 March afternoon. Soon afterwards, police opened fire on a group of Muslims, killing three on the spot. Nearly 12 people were injured in stabbing and firing incidents across the city. An indefinite curfew was clamped on parts of the town on 31 March. The flare-up in Akola followed allegations of police inaction against people suspected to have thrown Holi colours on a mosque. Mobs from both communities targeted the Jogalekar Plot, Shabnamnagar, Khair Mohammed Plot, Bhagatwadi, Habibnagar, Wankhedenagar, Bhandpura, Shiivajinagar and Shivsenanagar localities.

The South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had also to bear the communal brunt. In Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu, an activist of Hindu Munani allegedly stabbed and killed Sultan Meeran, a Muslim medical shop owner on 26 March. This led to communal tension in the area. In retaliation, a few days later a senior RSS functionary was knifed to death by unknown assailants in the district. Following the two incidents, security was further tightened and there was heavy deployment of armed policemen.

In the Hubli district of Karnataka, people from both Hindu and Muslim communities set on fire 18 shops on the occasion of Ranga Panchami on 29 March. Altercations broke out between two groups of people who were playing cards. However, the situation was brought under control. 

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