Amidst ongoing ethnic clashes in Manipur, recent communal unrest in Haryana, near the national capital, resulted in six deaths this week. The casualties included two Home Guards and four civilians, with 70 individuals sustaining injuries in confrontations across Gurugram, Sohna, and Nuh. Substantial property damage amounting to crores occurred, leading to the displacement of numerous workers. The catalyst for the turmoil emerged from a long-standing situation, where on July 31, local Muslims threw stones at a Hindu religious procession in Nuh. This event had previously been a peaceful local affair, involving a day-long yatra between two temples in a Muslim-majority district. However, in recent times, it evolved into a political spectacle, with participants organized by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad from neighboring Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Reports indicated that this year’s procession featured slogans, firearms, and weapons. In response to an attack, the pilgrims were compelled to retreat to the initial temple and await police reinforcement from neighboring districts. Caught off-guard and ill-prepared, the administration’s response was lacking. Subsequent to the violence, authorities arrested 176 individuals and filed 93 FIRs. Haryana’s Chief Minister, M.L. Khattar, characterized the violence as premeditated, a perspective that appears accurate.
Tensions had escalated over several days, commencing with a Bajrang Dal member and self-proclaimed cow vigilante posting videos on social media, announcing their participation in the yatra. This individual, who is implicated in the kidnapping and murder of two Muslim youths from Rajasthan’s Bharatpur in February of the current year, invoked strong resentment within the Muslim community. Local social and political leaders had cautioned the administration about the potential for violence. On the yatra day, another Bajrang Dal activist uploaded videos containing provocative language, advising Nuh’s residents to brace themselves for their arrival. The unrest extended to Sohna, a sub-division of Gurugram, where an armed mob vandalized a mosque. Tragically, an Imam at Sector 57’s Anjuman Jama Masjid was fatally attacked by the mob around midnight on Monday. A staff member was seriously injured, and the shrine was set ablaze. Police at the mosque, outnumbered by the rioters, assumed passive roles. The inadequacy of policing in Haryana highlighted the communal incitement perpetrated by groups affiliated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The Haryana administration must take decisive action against the instigators of the violence and maintain vigilance and impartiality to ensure the preservation of peace.