Chaitra Navratri – which marks the start of the Hindu lunisolar calendar – is being used to polarize society in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where elections will be held in 2023, activists and Congress leaders say.
In Rajasthan, thousands of RSS activists gathered in Ajmer and chanted “reprehensible” slogans. A bicycle rally was organized in the city to mark the start of the Hindu New Year.
Similarly, in Karauli, after a bicycle rally, a mob of RSS militants and Hindus attacked a mosque and shouted objectionable slogans that sparked communal clashes.
Although the government of Rajasthan led by Ashok Gehlot acted quickly and arrested many disbelievers, tension prevailed and escalated in neighboring areas. According to reports, at least 46 people were arrested for throwing stones and arson. However, no FIRs have been registered to date.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot appealed to the public to remain calm and not indulge in violence. “I spoke to the DG police. The police and the administration are present there. I call on the public to keep the peace and stay away from the disbelievers who are present in all religions,” he said.
Gehlot urged the prime minister to appeal for peacekeeping, saying strict instructions have been given to the police to identify the culprits at the earliest.
In Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, RSS militants attacked city officials after they tried to remove RSS flags. Interestingly, the order to remove the flags was issued by the BJP-led state government.
In several districts of Madhya Pradesh, community songs are played from loudspeakers and huge audio decks.
MP Congress spokesman KK Mishra said the incidents in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are “identical and part of a plot to polarize society ahead of next year’s elections”.
“The nine-day festival which is celebrated for worshiping different forms of shakti is being used by the BJP as an opportunity to spread communal hatred and polarize society along religious lines,” Mishra said.
Referring to an incident in CM Shivraj Singh’s home district of Vidisha where two tribal men were killed after a riot broke out, Mishra said, “Even CM’s home district is on fire. but he pretends to be asleep”.
“They were trying to give it a major community twist, but Congress deployed its leaders and activists to the ground and a major community riot was averted,” Mishra added.
It should be noted that one person was killed and more than 50 injured in a clash between Muslims and the tribal community in the village of Khamaria on March 19.
According to congressional leaders, two boys from the tribal community were shooting a video after playing sports. They had an argument with some people from the Muslim community. The elderly people present intervened in the matter and settled the matter.
However, after about an hour, RSS-BJP activists allegedly attempted to invoke communal tension following which the two communities clashed, resulting in the deaths of two people. 50 people from both communities were injured.
An FIR was recorded against 16 people. 13 people have been arrested so far in connection with the incident.
Attacking the BJP government for its failure to handle the law and order situation in the state, Mishra said Congress will fight to ensure justice for all and maintain communal harmony in the state.