Diwali Celebrations Turn Violent In Gujarat After Communal Clashes On Ganesh Chaturthi And Navaratri

The recent unfortunate incident happened around 12.45 am as a clash broke out among two communities over the bursting of firecrackers in Panigate area of Vadodora.

Communal Clashes in Diwali at Vadodara

After Navaratri, Diwali was also not so peaceful in Guajarat’s Vadodora. A fight over bursting firecrackers took a shape of communal clashes between two communities in the city’s Panigate area during the midnight.

The Police have already detained 19 people relating to the case. Panigate has always been a communally sensitive area.

According to PTI, petrol bomb had also been hurled at the Police. Deputy Commissioner of Police Yashpal Jaganiya, Vadodora told the news agency that within an hour of the clashes a petrol bomb was thrown at them from a third floor of a building. The person had been nabbed immediately.

Till now, no report of severe injury was found. One motorbike caught fire as a rocket firecracker fell on it.

“Following an issue over the bursting of firecrackers and hurling rocket bombs at each other, people from two communities pelted stones at each other,” the DCP said.

The mob also reportedly torched public vehicles and according to the reports of India Today, some of them even cut off the electricity so that the rioters couldn’t be identified through the CCTV footage.

The investigation is underway and the habitual offenders from both the communities are rounded up, the police said.

While Vadodara has been known for its communal sensitivity, specifically the Panigate area has been in news for some time. Here is a look at the recent incidents that brought this neighbourhood in the focus of the country.

Violence before Ganesh Chaturthi at Panigate, Vadodara

In August, a procession of Ganesh Chaturthi turned violent while passing through the Panigate locality. As per the reports, there had been some arguments between the two communities that led to severe stone pelting.

The windows of Panigate Darwaza Masjid was shattered due to the eruption of violence. Chirag Koradia, the Joint Police Commission of Vadodara said, “People from the two communities started arguing with each other. The matter escalated with members from both the groups hurling stones at each other. In the process, a glass on the main gate of a mosque was damaged.”

He also added that the FIR had been registered against the people from both the communities under sections 43 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 336 (rash act endangering human life or personal safety), and 295 (defiling place of worship). 13 people had been detained for participating in the clashes.

Gangfights near Panigate Police Station

In February, 2019, a serious gang war started near the Panigate police station over a road accident. As per the reports the clashes broke out after a minor accident between a car and a scooter.

According to reports while Tanveer alias Tannu Malek of the local ‘Bicchu’ gang was on the scooter, his rival gang members Ashfaque Dewan and Naeem Sheikh were inside the car. Immediately after the accident the brawl erupted and Police intervened and took them to the Police station.

Even in the police station with the support of more members who joined them later the gangs started fighting leading to the damage of police properties. They tore a few wireless sets and a computer keyboard. Senior Police officers from the neighbouring stations also had to reach the spot to tame the violence.

Violence during Navaratri

Along with several other places, Vadodara also witnessed violence this Navaratri. On October 1, a fight broke out near Savli town of the city where two communities started fighting over their flags.

Salvi Police Inspector AR Mahida told the Quint, “Tension escalated in the area after a confrontation took place between members of the Hindu community and the Muslim community over hoisting of their respective religious flags. There was stone pelting but no one was injured. A car and a shop were damaged. We took down both the flags.”

As per the sources both the communities tried to put their flags at the electric poles at Dhamiji ka Dera locality in Savli and hence, the clashes ensued.

The recent events of the clashes in Vadodara just few months ahead of the polls is very crucial, notes the political analysts. Gujarat has always been seen as a communally sensitive state. Certain surge in the violence on major Hindu occasions are not going to to bear well for any political party.