One person was killed and another sustained injuries as communal clashes erupted in Gujarat's Khambhat city during a Ram Navami procession on Sunday, 10 April. Similar clashes also ensued in Himmatnagar and Dwarka, with at least 15 people being arrested in the former municipality.
“The body of an unidentified man, who appears to be around 65 years old, was recovered from the spot in Khambhat, where two groups pelted each other with stones after a clash broke out between them during a Ram Navami procession late this afternoon,” Superintendent of Police (SP) of Anand Ajit Rajyan was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The SP added that the 65-year-old appeared to have died after succumbing to injuries that he sustained during the clash. The incident is being investigated further, he added.
Stating that another person was injured, Rajyan added that some shops were set on fire during the clashes and that the police had fired tear gas shells to control the situation. Reports of vandalisation of vehicles in Khambhat had also surfaced.
Clashes at Himmatnagar, 15 Arrested
At Sabarkantha district's Himmatnagar too, stone-pelting was reported during a Ram Navami procession in the Chhapariya area, in which some were injured, as per the police. More than 15 people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Following the violence, Section 144 was imposed in some areas of Himmatnagar by Sabarkantha District Magistrate Hitesh Koya.
Police added that miscreants had also set three to four two-wheelers on fire. Some anti-social elements fired a bullet and set a jeep on fire, the police said.
Further, 10 police officers, including the superintendent of police, were also injured. The police had deployed 5 tear gas shells to bring the situation under control, and paramilitary forces had been called in.
Police forces have been deployed in large numbers to control the law and order situation in Himmatnagar. The police said in a statement that the attack was a planned one, and that stones had been collected on terraces in advance.
Gujarat Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi called for an emergency meeting with senior police officials late on Sunday night, to review the incident of unrest reported across the state.
Other States that Witnessed Communal Clashes During Ram Navami
Communal clashes were also reported from three other states – Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and West Bengal during celebrations of the Hindu festival on Sunday.
Violence and stone-pelting was also reported from Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh.
According to sources, members of a particular community objected to music being played during the Ram Navami procession. Stones were pelted on the procession and there were incidents of sabotage and arson at many places.
Jharkhand's Lohardaga district also witnessed stone pelting and arson attacks during Ram Navami processions. Three people have been critically injured due to the clash. The region continues to be under heavy police deployment so that no untoward incidents take place.
Reports of communal clashes also came out from West Bengal's Howrah city. The clashes reportedly took place at Shibpur area of the city and police have been deployed in large numbers to control the law and order situation there, reported NDTV.
The opposition BJP in the state has meanwhile alleged that police attacked some persons who participated in Ram Navami procession.
Goa's Vasco town also saw violence during a Ram Navami procession. Clashes reportedly broke out between members of two communities after stones were allegedly pelted at the people involved in the procession, reported Herald Goa.
Following this, a local mosque in the Islampura area of the town was attacked by a mob. All the persons who were involved in the clashes were later taken into custody by the police.
(With inputs from PTI, NDTV, Herald Goa.)