In the aftermath of the Karauli stone-pelting incident on April 2, 2022, the Congress-led government in Rajasthan prohibited the hoisting of religious flags on homes. It also placed several restrictions like the use of DJs during processions and Shobha Yatras, which are being carried out to mark many ongoing and upcoming Hindu festivals such as Durga Ashtami, Ram Navami, Mahavir Jayanti and Hanuman Jayanti. Section 144 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) has been placed in many districts of the state.
ये राजस्थान को क्या हो गया ? pic.twitter.com/jDgNfWx3xA— Hirendra Kaushik (@hirendrakaushik) April 12, 2022
Media reports suggest that the state government has forbidden the use of religious flags or putting them up in private places. The use of loudspeakers is banned during this period. According to the decree issued, any person or organisation will have to compulsorily take prior permission for using a DJ for any function or festival.
According to the guidelines, organisers must submit an affidavit and request letter for procession, rallies, and use of the DJ system, as well as details of the content to be played through the DJ system. In their checklists, police will also verify whether or not they have examined the DJ’s contents.
Furthermore, the Rajasthan government, which has made special arrangements for Muslims observing Roza during the Islamic holy month of Ramzan, like promising uninterrupted power supply, has said that people will not even be allowed to stand on their house terraces to watch the Shobha Yatra while it passes through their respective areas. The Bhaskar report further read that the Rajasthan police would also lock all of the houses on the route of the Shobha Yatra from the outside.
To ‘reduce noise pollution’, loudspeakers have been prohibited in all public and religious spaces. Prior permission will be necessary to carry out the same, which will be permitted between the hours of 6 am and 10 pm. Surprisingly, the administration which seems to be so worried about the ‘noise pollution’ caused by the use of loudspeakers during Hindu festivals, remains unfettered when the same loudspeakers are used during Azaan, that too five times a day.
In cities like Jaipur, the Police remained on high alert, as more than 1200 personnel were stationed along the yatra route, on terraces and rooftops of high rise buildings. Surveillance and inspection were being carried out through drones as well and senior police officers were a part of the march past that was carried out in the area.
Interestingly, the restrictions, which went into effect on April 7, 2022, and will stay in force until May 9, coincides with Hindu festival celebrations such as Mahavir Jayanti, Durga Ashtami, Ambedkar Jayanti, Ram Navami, and Hanuman Jayanti.
The Rajasthan government maintained that the decree was issued in the aftermath of the communal violence that broke out in Rajasthan’s Karauli on April 2, when a motorcycle rally marking Nav Samvatsar (Hindu new year) passed through a Muslim-dominated neighbourhood.
While Rajasthan govt takes preemptive measures to maintain law and order, a similar resolve to deal with stone pelters is missing
The manner in which events have unfolded in the aftermath of the stone-pelting incident in Karauli, Rajasthan, and the readiness with which the Rajasthan administration has responded, is fine. But one must pause and consider why the administration isn’t as prepared to take similar measures against the stone-pelters.
If so many harsh steps are being taken with respect to the peaceful Sobha Yatra processions to mark Hindu festivals, the same kind of resolve is expected from the government to tackle the menace of stone-pelting, which has become all but pervasive. Emboldened by the government inaction, miscreants have upped their attacks, indiscriminately pelting stones at the participants of a Hindu rally that took place in Kaurali on April 2, 2022.
It may be recalled that days after the violence, the Rajasthan police, working at the behest of the Congress government in the state had tried to blame the Hindu rally for the violence while trying to convey that stones were pelted in response to ‘objectionable’ songs.
Mohan Lal Lather, DGP, Rajasthan said that the way the Nav Samvatsar procession was carried out was dubious and objectionable songs were played, that’s why stone pelting took place.
The statements issued by the Rajasthan police or administration, at no point condemned the Muslim mob that pelted stones targeting the rally conducted by Hindus.
On April 2, when Hindus across the world were celebrating their new year, communal violence broke down in the Hatwara Bazaar area of Karauli when miscreants pelted stones at a Hindu bike rally while more than a dozen shops and three bikes were set on fire.
Reportedly, 43 people, including policemen, were injured in the mob attack while the rally was celebrating ‘Nav Samvatsar’ passed through a Muslim-dominated area. Four policemen accompanying the rally were also injured in the stone-pelting on the bike rally. The reports said that there were knife marks on the body of the injured who reached the hospital.