New Delhi: At least three people were killed, including two Home Guards, and 20 were injured when a religious procession by the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad turned violent in Haryana’s Nuh on Monday, July 31.
As the situation still remains tense, the Haryana government has suspended internet in the district till Wednesday, August 2, to contain the “intense communal tension”, The Indian Express reported. Prohibitory orders, including a ban on assembly of people, have also been clamped in the district.
Claiming that about “3,000-4,000 persons were held hostage in a temple”, Haryana home minister, Anil Vij, said that the state government had already requested the Union government for additional forces.
According to The Indian Express, by 7 pm on Monday, violence had spread to Sohna Chowk near Gurugram, with some vehicles being set on fire.
The news agency PTI, quoting police said, said Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s ‘Brij Mandal Jalabhishek Yatra’ was stopped by a group of young men near Khedla Mod in Nuh and stones were pelted at the procession, leading to the outbreak of violence. At least four cars, part of the procession, were set on fire.
The Yatra was flagged off in the morning from Civil Lines in Gurugram by BJP district president, Gargi Kakkar. The Yatra was to reach Ferozepur Jhirka via Nuh. Violence erupted when it reached Nuh around 1:30 pm. According to authorities, the Yatra had permission, and around 1,000 policemen were deployed along the Yatra’s route.
Police said a group of young men near Khedla Mod in Nuh stopped the Yatra and pelted stones at the procession. At least four cars, part of the procession, were set on fire. Some police vehicles were also damaged. People in the procession hurled stones back at the youths who had stopped them, the PTI report said.
“The situation is tense in Nuh. There are about 3,000-4,000 persons being held hostage at Narhar temple. All these were part of the VHP’s procession. We are trying our best to first rescue these people,” IE quoted state home minister, Anil Vij, as saying.
However, a district official said 1,000 people are held hostage at the temple and said efforts are on to evacuate them. “Forces from Faridabad, Narnaul, and Rewari have been called in,” he said.
There are claims doing rounds that the trigger for the clash was an objectionable video posted on social media by a Bajrang Dal activist in Ballabhgarh. Reports also indicate that Monu Manesar – a cow vigilante wanted in the murder of two Muslim men in Rajasthan – was supposed to join the procession.
Nuh MLA Aftab Ahmed from the Congress told The Wire that it was really unfortunate that such events have happened, and held the district administration responsible for the flaring up of clashes. “The administration has failed in its duty to prevent these clashes despite the circulation of provocative and hateful videos since the last 2-3 days,” he said.
The Wire could see two such videos where Hindutva activists provoked people of Nuh to “welcome” the rallyists as their Yatra will “make it a point” to pass through Muslim-majority Nuh. In the same video, the leader used several humiliating references against the people of Nuh.
Ahmed said, “Such anti-social elements have been patronised under this government for a long time. They move around without any fear of law,” he said.
The Hindutva activists on the ground claimed that “around 2,500-3,000 Hindus” who had come to participate in the rally have been held “hostage” in a local temple, and need “evacuation by central forces”. Most saffron leaders have already begun demanding that the Centre deploy central forces.
However, Ahmed refuted such a claim. “When such things happen, people take shelter. Now things have stopped flaring up.”
Asked how the clashes broke out, he said that he didn’t know the exact turn of events but added, “This area is known historically for its cultural brotherhood. Now, it is time for us to appeal to everyone to maintain peace and not be part of any rumour that is being deliberately circulated to foment more clashes between the communities.”
A social organisation called Mewat Vikas Sabha informed the press that the Shobha Yatra was preceded by circulation of several hateful videos against Muslims in Mewat. It alleged that the “Shobha Yatra” organised by Hindutva groups was a “calculated” attempt by engineer communal violence in the Muslim-majority Nuh. “Very provocative videos were circulated in the last two days. Despite that, the administration allowed the Yatra to enter Mewat. And when violence began, the administration simply collapsed, police disappeared,” it said.
Meanwhile, the district magistrate Nishant Kumar Yadav imposed Section 144, prohibiting assembly of more than five persons in light of the violence.
Deputy Commissioner Shri Nishant Kumar Yadav, imposes Section 144 of Cr.PC in Gurugram district, effective immediately. Unlawful activities, road blockades, and assembly of 5+ persons with weapons prohibited to maintain peace & tranquility. Order in force till further notice. pic.twitter.com/cLFehz80kh
— DC Gurugram (@DC_Gurugram) July 31, 2023
Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has appealed to people to maintain peace. “The kind of situation that has emerged in Nuh makes it even more important for all the people of the state to be more responsible and ensure brotherhood,” he said. “All the issues can be resolved by way of talks. Nobody should indulge in sending/ circulating any wrong information/ messages. Nobody is above the Constitution of India.”
This is a developing story, and will be updated as and when new information trickles in.