On February 6, violence erupted in different parts of Jharkhand during Saraswati Puja and Moorti Visarjan. A minor lost his life in Naitand village, Hazaribagh, eight people got injured as Muslims stopped the Saraswati Visarjan procession that was allowed only after the police’s intervention.
Minor died in Hazaribagh
A 17-year-old boy identified as Rupesh Pandey went to attend a procession going for Murti Visarjan after Saraswati Puja. It is unclear how the scuffle broke between Rupesh and members of the other community. He got severely injured during the scuffle, after which he was rushed to a hospital in the Barhi region. Rupesh, who was the only son of his parents, was declared dead on arrival by the medical officer at the hospital.
सरस्वती पूजा के मूर्ति विसर्जन के दौरान रांची मेन रोड, हजारीबाग के बरही और कोडरमा के मरकच्चो में हिंसा की खबर। कई लोगों के घायल हुए, आगजनी भी हुई है। आम दिनों में अपराधी तो बेलगाम हैं ही पर्व-त्योहार के मौके पर भी प्रशासन विधि-व्यवस्था बनाए रखने में असफल साबित हो रही है pic.twitter.com/Tqorc4lla7— Journalist Chandan (घर पे रहे सुरक्षित रहे) (@JournalistChan4) February 6, 2022
When the locals learned about his death, violence broke out between the two communities. Hundreds of Police personnel have been deployed to control the situation. Vehicles were burnt during the violence. Four people have been arrested by the police in the case. the police had to fire several rounds to disperse the crowd.
Violence in Koderma
Violence erupted in Markacho, district Koderma during the Sarawati Visarjan procession. As per reports, the violence erupted when members of the Muslim community objected to overplaying DJ during the procession. Eight people, including a child, were injured during the violence. The police said the situation was under control.
Saraswati procession stopped by protesters in Jamtara
In another incident, some local Muslims allegedly stopped the procession of Saraswati Murti Visarjan in Firkoria village, Karmatand Police Station area, Jamtara. The police were informed about the incident. SHO Raushan Kumar reached the spot with the heavy police force and cleared the path for the procession.
Reports suggest the same path was being used for such procession for years, but nothing of this sort had happened earlier. The police tried to convince people of the particular community, but they did not allow the procession to move further. Mohammad Gulzar Anjum, CO, Karmatand, tried to pacify the situation and argued that as the road and lake were government properties, no one could stop the procession. However, the mob refused to budge from their position.
Speaking to OpIndia, CO Anjum said it was a minor scuffle between the two communities. The administration laid down several proposals, but none of the sides was ready to agree to the proposals. In the end, he had to take a stand. He offered to take the idol himself on his shoulders and dared them to stop him. It was only then the path was cleared for the procession.
Mass conversions and problem of Islamic fundamentalism on the rise in Jamtara: BJP functionary Sumit Sharan
OpIndia also spoke to Sumit Sharan, District General Secretary (Jamtara), BJP Jharkhand, who said such incidents of scuffle between the two communities have increased in the recent years. He said, “Small children were carrying out the procession. It was heartbreaking to see them being stopped by Muslims.”
Elaborating about the mass conversions and the problem of fundamentalists in the region, Sharan said, “There are some villages that have been completely converted to Islam in the last few years. Many residents have turned fundamentalist resulting in communal tension.”
Sharan also accused the local MLA Irfan Ansari of turning a blind eye to the entire episode where Muslims objected to Hindus carrying out Saraswati processions. “Local MLA Irfan Ansari has not spoken a word about the incident. Such matters should be above politics. The dual nature is not going to work. He often goes to the temple to show he is with Hindus too, but when such incidents happen under his nose, he is not saying a word,” Sharan said.
Internet services down
The administration barred internet services in all three districts where the violence erupted are Hazaribagh, Kordema and Giridih. The internet service was barred at around 4:30 PM on Sunday for 24 hours. The administration said they took the step to control the spread of fake news that might have amplified the violence.