Haryana communal violence | Death toll rises to six; Chief Minister Manohar Lal seeks additional Central forces

Badshapur Bajrang Dal co-ordinator Pradeep Sharma succumbed to injuries at Delhi’s Safdarjang Hospital in the morning, taking the toll to six, including two home guards

August 02, 2023 12:00 pm | Updated 11:26 pm IST - GURUGRAM

Residents look at the remains of a shop, which was set on fire by a mob in a fresh case of communal violence at Palra village in Gurugram in Haryana on August 2, 2023.

Residents look at the remains of a shop, which was set on fire by a mob in a fresh case of communal violence at Palra village in Gurugram in Haryana on August 2, 2023. | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

With six people dead in the communal violence that has spread through south Haryana this week, Chief Minister Manohar Lal on Wednesday sought three additional companies of Central paramilitary forces to supplement the 20 companies already deployed in the State.

Pradeep Sharma, a Bajrang Dal co-ordinator in Badshapur, succumbed to his injuries at Delhi’s Safdarjang Hospital during treatment on Wednesday morning, taking the death toll to six. Previous casualties include the Imam of a Gurugram mosque and two police personnel. So far, 116 people have been arrested and 90 detained.

A ban on mobile internet services in four districts has been extended till August 5, even as the State Home Minister Anil Vij said social media posts had fuelled the violence that initially broke out during a Vishwa Hindu Parishad yatra in Muslim-dominated Nuh district on Monday. However, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala also raised concerns about lapses on the part of the yatra’s organisers, while Union Minister of State Rao Inderjit Singh, who is the Lok Sabha MP for Gurugram, asked why members of both communities, including the yatra’s participants, were carrying weapons.

Additional paramilitary forces

Addressing a press conference, Mr. Lal said that apart from 30 companies of Haryana police, 20 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) have been deployed across the State, with 14 CAPF companies in Nuh, three in Palwal, two in Gurugram, and one in Faridabad. In order to prevent the renewed violence, a 1,000-member battalion of the Indian Reserve Battalion will be permanently deployed at Nuh, he said, adding that he has sought three additional companies of paramilitary forces from the Centre.

Asked about reports that Bajrang Dal member Monu Manesar, a self-proclaimed cow vigilante, had helped to trigger the violence by circulating a video saying that he would join the yatra in Nuh, the Chief Minister said that the Rajasthan police, who were looking for him in connection with a case, were “free to act against him”. Mr. Lal said his government would provide any assistance required, though it did not have any inputs on his current location.

Regarding property damage caused by the communal violence, the CM pointed to a Haryana law on the recovery of losses to property during riots, saying that those responsible for damaging property during the violence in Nuh would pay for it.

Panel to scan social media

Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij said that the large-scale violence seemed to have been planned for a long time, by gathering people and arranging for weapons, which could not happen in a single day. He promised a thorough investigation into the matter.

Mr. Vij added that social media had played a significant role in fuelling the violence in Nuh and announced the formation of a three-member committee to examine and scan social media platforms for provocative posts between July 21 and July 31. Mobile internet services will remain suspended in Nuh, Faridabad and Palwal districts, as well as in parts of the Gurugram district, till August 5.

Meanwhile, Hindu outfits in Gurugram called on the Deputy Commissioner, seeking a complete ban on offering namaz, or Muslim prayers, in open spaces from August 11. Six places are designated for open namaz in Gurugram at present.

(With PTI inputs)

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