Communal riot in Rajasthan

A communal riot broke out in Nimaj town of Pali district of Rajasthan on 25 April when a procession on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti was taken out. As the procession passed through a Muslim locality and mosque, some anti-social elements threw stones on the procession which led to the two communities coming face to face and throwing stones at each other. The crowd set many two-wheelers, jeeps, cars and houses on fire. Many persons were also injured, though no deaths were reported.

According to D G of Jodhpur Range, DC Jain tension had been prevailing in this town for the past about one week on the question of a board placed at a Neem tree. According to one Ataur Rahman of Pali, ta’zias were assembled under this tree during Muharram and accordingly a permanent board relating to ta’zias was put up there. A few days before the riot broke out on 25 April, some Hindu organisations removed that board and put up their own  board (related to Hanuman), which led to tension and a riot-like condition. Some shop keepers began to down their shutters. The administration got both boards removed. Probably irked at this, Hindu organisations decided to take out a Hanuman Jayanti procession.

According to some Muslims, Hanuman Jayanti procession was never taken out earlier at this place and it was for the first time that this procession was taken out. If this contention of Muslims is true, it is clear that this Hanuman Jayanti procession was taken out by Hindu organisations with some ulterior motive. And they succeeded in their evil design because a communal riot did break out, though on a small scale.

Shortly after the riot broke out and conditions began to deteriorate, when administration and police authorities were also attacked by stone-pelters, curfew was clamped around 10.30 pm. Next day (26 April), conditions improved.

According to D.C. Jain 33 persons were arrested but according to Police Supdt of Pali, (Ms) K. B. Vandana, 36 persons were arrested and peace could be restored in the town on 27 April, after about 300 STF and Rajasthan Armed Constabulary personnel were posted at sensitive places.

PS Vandana said that four cases were also registered. This riot in Nimaj is the sixth such incident in Rajasthan in April alone. Communal riots had earlier broken out in this month in Sanganer (Jaipur), Makrana (Nagaur), Sarwar (Ajmer), Udaipur and Baran.

The question being raised is the wisdom of the state or district authorities in allowing the Hanuman Jayanti procession being taken out at a time when the communal atmosphere was already charged after the removal of boards put up by Muslims and Hindus on the Neem tree. Moreover, when no Hanuman Jayanti procession was taken out on earlier occasions, as stated by Muslims, why was it allowed this year, and that too was allowed to pass through Muslim populated localities?

As stated, Nimaj riot was the sixth in a single month (April). During about four years of Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government, at least 43 (according to some other sources 52) communal riots have taken place in Rajasthan. According to chief minister’s media adviser, Muhammad Yaseen, BJP’s policy of communal polarisation is the main reason of communal riots. It would not be out of place to mention here that as the communal riot had broken out in Nimaj, chief minister Gehlot at the same time had left on a 7-day visit to Israel for learning the Israeli technique of agriculture and irrigation. In December 2012 also he had gone to Israel for the same purpose and in March this year also he had a meeting (in Ajmer) with the Israeli ambassador in the same connection.

In view of communal riots taking place in Rajasthan frequently, people have started asking whether he is seeking the help of Israel for learning new techniques of agriculture and irrigation alone or also learning the art of manipulating communal riots.

Another series of riots erupted in Assm’s Kakrajhar and Goalpara districts by the end of April. In Kokrahar’s Doramari area, the clash took place between Muslims and Bodo tribals about the possession of a piece of land. Muslims claimed that since the land was theirs, they wanted to build a temporary shed which was opposed by Bodo tribals, claiming that the land belonged to them. Doramari’s mukhia Abdul Malik Sheikh and other Muslims had been disputing Bodos’ claim saying that Muslims have been living here for hundreds of years. Additional Deputy Commissioner Utpal Sharma, who toured this area, said that the district administration has been asked to study the relevant papers and records and decide the case.

In Goalpara area the body of one Tahir Ali, a shepherd who was missing since Sunday 28 April, was found on 29 April (morning). This resulted in a clash between Muslims and police who tried to take the body for post mortem. Muslims resisted the police’s attempt to take the body and the local mob attacked police team and stoned them. When many policemen were injured, they opened fire resulting in the death of two persons Shahidul Islam and Gulzar Ali. The enraged mob caught hold of two persons who were passing through the area on a bike and set them on fire, one of whom later died. In this violence more than a dozen persons including some police personnel and officers were injured. Curfew was clamped in the affected areas and police patrol continued.