Curfew was imposed in two Rajasthan towns of Bhilwara district, about 250 km from here, after a group of activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) allegedly burnt down several shops owned by Muslims on Friday.

Bhilwara Collector Onkar Singh confirmed to The Hindu that activists of the RSS and the VHP had attacked some properties owned by Muslims in Bhilwara’s Aasind and Gulabpura towns.

Muslim residents of Aasind were to take out a procession on the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi, being observed on Friday.

However, owing to an earlier confrontation, the RSS and VHP men had warned that they would not allow the procession to be taken out and had called for a bandh to be observed in the region.

On January 13, RSS members had insisted on taking out their path sanchalan rally in Aasind from a specific route which had a mosque on it, to which Muslims objected. Following an intervention from the administration, the RSS rally was diverted to another route.

Allegedly miffed at that, the RSS-VHP activists warned they would not allow the Barawafat procession, to be taken out on Friday on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammad, as the route had a temple on it. Tension had prevailed in the area and the district administration had been trying to avert any impending confrontation between the two groups.

“Several men associated with the RSS and VHP, led by Dhanraj Gurjar, had warned that they would not allow Muslims to take out the Barawafat procession. Till late Thursday night, the district administration and the police had been working to resolve the problem,” Mr. Onkar Singh told The Hindu.

“However, on Friday morning, these men attacked Muslim properties in Aasind as well as Gulabpura and burnt some temporary stalls owned by Muslims,” said Mr. Singh.