There have been multiple instances of rioting and attacks on Hindus during the Muharram Tazia procession carried out last weekend in UP. Disturbances have been reported from at least 9 districts of UP, going by local Hindi news reports.
Some instances also involved attack on Maa Durga visarjan (immersion) processions, while one case from Barabanki saw a brutal police crackdown & forceful visarjan of Maa Durga’s murti after Hindu devotees refused to proceed with visarjan.
There were mutliple instances of clashes during Tazia and Durga Puja processions in Barabanki district, Dainik Jagran has reported.
28 Hindu devotees were returning after Durga visarjan in Ahmadpur village, on Sunday evening. When a tractor trolley carrying mostly women and children was passing through the market, it was stopped by a Muslim mob taking part in an adjacent Tazia procession. Chowki in-charge Ratan Singh tried to intervene but he and his police team were attacked by the mob. Police ran into nearby houses to save themselves. The mob then attacked the women sitting in the trolley – Fateh Bahadur, Kiran Kumari, Ram Baran, Suraj, Durgesh and two others received serious injuries from sharp-edged weapons and stone pelting.
After that, both communities attacked each others’ properties and vehicles. An idgah wall was demolished, which the administration quickly got repaired. DM, SP and a large police contingent camped through the night to bring the situation under control.
The violence spread to Nyochana and Para villages – as per police, both sides have filed complaints against 55 named and 300 unnamed persons for arson and damage. Ahmadpur Chowki in-charge Ratan Singh has been suspended.
Hindu villagers of around 20 villages in Mohammadpur Khala police station area wanted to take 13 murtis of Maa Durga via Bhatuamau – but this route was prohibited by the High Court, and the procession was only permitted to go outside that village. Some of the Durga Puja festival organizers had gone to appeal against this in court, but admin and police (ADM, SSP, SDM, CO etc) were putting pressure for the murtis to be immersed. Finally, around 12 in the night, the administration got the electricity for the entire area disconnected and police was unleashed on the Hindu devotees.
Villagers of 4 villages allege that the police fired in the air, did lathi charge, vandalized homes and beat up several people to forcefully snatch the murtis and do the visarjan. Santosh Maurya, Udit, Ram Prasad, Vipin, Deshraj, Rohit, Narendra etc were assaulted inside their homes by police. After this, police filed serious cases like rioting, obstructing official work etc against 33 names and 200 unnamed persons.
Disturbances were also reported from Dariabad, Safedabad and Kothi in the district.
LiveHindustan has reported violence during Muharram processions from 8 other districts of UP – Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Balia, Bareilly, Pilibhit, Kushinagar, Sambhal, Kanpur. A magistrate-level probe has been ordered to investigate all the clashes. Around 30 people are reported to be injured, including few policemen, in the Kanpur clashes after a Tazia procession deliberately deviated from its authorized route. Around 200 people have been arrested there.
In Sambhal, more than 100 Tazias were standing on the streets after a dispute arose late on Sunday night. The Muslim devotees were agitated and had refused to bury the Tazias. Administration and police officials were in discussions with the Muslim devotees to convince them to bury the Tazias.
Attacks on Hindu religious processions like Durga Puja, Ganesh Chaturthi, Ram Navami, Hanuman Jayanti etc are not new. Neither is violence during Muharram processions a new phenomenon. We had reportedearlier on how Hindus, including a temple pujari, were attacked during a Muharram procession in Bihar’s Kishanganj, and even Vadodra in Gujarat witnessed violence during Muharram procession.
Such news might be registering with the common urban Hindu, cut off from his rural roots, for the first time due to advent of social & digital media, but the ground reality in the rural hinterland and even in urban pockets colloquially known as ‘mini-Pakistans’ shows that the mindset which spawned the two-nation theory and led to the creation of Pakistan is alive and kicking in Bharat. Our modern, secular state has failed miserably in the task of changing attitudes of the so-called ‘minorities’ and building a national Grand narrative that recognizes the true roots of Bharat.
Thrashing Hindu devotees and doing a forceful visarjan of Maa Durga, while carefully negotiating with Muslim devotees to bury the Tazia – this is how our secular state works after 70 years of Independence.