At least five people have been killed and over 70 have been injured after communal clashes broke out in the Nuh district of India’s Haryana State on 31 July.
The violence began on 31 July after a religious procession organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) was interrupted by a group reported to number approximately 15 people who pelted stones at the gathering. Within a few hours, clashes spread across the district, with mobs turning violent. Vehicles, police stations and shops were set ablaze, and at around 5.30pm the Haryana government suspended all mobile SMS and internet services in Nuh in an attempt to stop the spread of misinformation.
By late evening, the violence had spread to neighbouring districts. Anjuman Mosque in Gurugram district was torched by a mob, killing the mosque’s 22-year-old cleric Mohammad Saad. The same day, dozens of vehicles outside a Hindu temple where the procession goers had gathered for shelter were torched, leaving more than 2,000 people trapped inside for hours.
On 1 August, the violence spread to Gurugram district where mobs of over 200 people vandalised and torched shops and vehicles. The shops in the area belonged largely to the Muslim community.
As of 1 August, the Haryana Police had registered 44 First Information Reports (FIRs) and arrested more than 80 people in connection with the violence. They have also increased security measures in and around places of religious significance and held meetings with prominent Hindu and Muslim community leaders to restore peace.
Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which prohibits the assembly of four or more people in an area, has been imposed in several districts including Nuh, Gurugram and Faridabad. Internet services remain suspended and some schools have been asked to close in violence hit areas. The Deputy Commissioner of Gurugram also issued a statement warning people of strict action if they share any content that could trigger religious disharmony. He also ordered all petrol bunks to stop selling loose petrol as it was being used for violence.
CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: ‘The spread of communal violence in India’s Haryana state is alarming, particularly given the grave events unfolding in Manipur to the north. We call on the Indian government to be proactive in tackling the root causes of communal violence and ensuring due process is followed to secure justice for the victims. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party must do far more to crack down on narratives that drive religious division and intolerance, and which ultimately result in the loss of lives and significant trauma for minority communities.’