As communal tensions rose in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, a curfew was imposed in ten police station areas and mobile internet connections were suspended Tuesday, hours after two communities battled late Monday night over the hoisting of a flag on Eid. So far, 97 people have been arrested in connection with the disturbances, according to police. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot urged the public to live peacefully and chaired a high-level meeting on the issue.
Rajasthan: Ruckus in Jodhpur's Jalori Gate area pic.twitter.com/6IGhmVmmPX
— ANI MP/CG/Rajasthan (@ANI_MP_CG_RJ) May 3, 2022
According to the Press Trust of India, the original dispute was sparked by the hoisting of Islamic flags around the statue of freedom fighter Balmukund Bissa, where a saffron flag that had been placed there ahead of Parshuram Jayanti had gone missing.
“There were flags of Lord Parashuram at the area where namaz is offered,” Hawa Singh Ghumaria, Additional Director General (Law and Order), told India Today. “There was a dispute about removing the flags as the local Muslim community puts up a flag on the occasion of Eid. While police tried to disperse the crowd, tension escalated and there was stone-pelting .”
This claim, however, was later proved to be false by various fact checking articles, including India Today.
According to officials, police had to use lathi charges and tear gas shells to disperse the throng that pelted stones on Monday night and Tuesday early.
New fights erupted between police and members of the Muslim community on Tuesday morning, according to officials.
“There was a clash between police and people who had offered namaaz on Tuesday morning. The people who had come to offer namaz started sloganeering and forcefully tried to go near the statue and remove a saffron flag that was put there after last night’s clashes. Police had to use force to disperse (the crowd). The clash this morning was with police, not the other community,” DCP Rana explained.
With the area being adjacent to the Eidgah and the prospect of a big number of people performing namaaz in the region on Eid, the Police Commissioner intervened and did not allow the crowd to get near the place, according to Additional Director General (Law and Order) Hawa Singh Ghumaria.
“But while dispersing, tension escalated and there was stone pelting. There were flags of Lord Parashuram near the area where namaz is offered. There was a dispute about removing flags. The local Muslim community puts up a flag on the occasion of Eid,” Ghumaria explained.
Taking to Twitter, Gehlot said “The tension resulting from a clash between two groups in Jodhpur’s Jalori Gate is unfortunate. I have instructed the administration to maintain peace and order at any cost. Respecting the tradition of love and brotherhood in Jodhpur, Marwar, I appeal to all sides to help in maintaining peace and law and order.”