Several instances of violence, stone pelting, and arson rocked many states of India on the occasion of Ram Navami on 10 April.
Reports of unrest and violence emerged from Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Gujarat West Bengal, Goa, Mumbai, and New Delhi, where students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University were allegedly attacked by students affiliated with right-wing groups. Meanwhile, the clashes that erupted in Gujarat caused the death of a person.
Several purported videos of these incidents uploaded on social media showed youth wearing saffron clothing, wielding swords, and chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and anti-Muslim slogans, whizzing through the streets on their bikes.
In one instance, in Bihar's Muzaffarpur, a purported video uploaded on social media shows a group of men holding saffron flags and swords outside a mosque, with one man climbing the mosque's wall and trying to fix a saffron flag atop it.
And in Madhya Pradesh's Khargone, as many as 77 people were arrested after incidents of stone pelting and arson occurred during a Ram Navami procession in the district.
This is, however, not the first time such rallies have taken place on the occasion of Ram Navami. Over the years, right-wing Hindu groups taking out processions have led to tensions in many parts of the country, according to several media reports.
In today’s episode, we take a look at the reports of violence in some of these areas and analyse how the occasion of Ram Navami has been a weapon to spread communal hatred by certain right-wing groups.
We speak to Teesta Setalvad, a journalist and civil rights activist, and Apoorvanand, a professor at Delhi University.
(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)