The town of Una in Gujarat's Gir Somnath district is in the grips of communal tensions after an alleged hate speech against a minority community by a Hindu social and political activist at a Ram Navami event.
The tensions are rooted in the speech of Kajal Hindustani, a political and social activist, at a Ram Navami event on Thursday. The event was organised by Hindu right-wing organisation Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).
Markets remained shut while police are monitoring the circulation of rumours on social media over the last few days and efforts are being made to defuse tension by engaging leaders from both communities.
Police and local political leaders on Saturday called a meeting of the peace committee with representatives from both communities and appealed to them to work towards normalising the situation, said Superintendent of Police Sripal Sheshma, adding that an FIR will be registered against Hindustani if the aggrieved community lodges a police complaint against her.
"On Ram Navami (March 30), Kajal Hindustani said inappropriate things regarding a community during her speech at an event that caused (communal) tension in Una. We called a Shanti Samiti (peace committee) meeting of people from both communities," the SP said.
Videos of Hindustani's alleged hate speech surfaced on the internet.
Kajal further peddled conspiracy theories demonizing Muslims and told the crowd to “Burn Lanka of Land Jihadis and Love Jihadis.” pic.twitter.com/esuYQyi369— HindutvaWatch (@HindutvaWatchIn) April 1, 2023
The police and local leaders listened to the grievances of representatives of the two communities and resolved their issues, he said, adding that the situation is peaceful and law and order is under control.
Even during the meeting, a few people from the two sides started hurling accusations at each other, which further caused tension, but the matter was resolved.
"We have informed members of the Muslim community that we will accept their complaint and take strict action," Sheshma said.
Shopkeepers have been requested to open shutters while police personnel have been deployed at fixed points and patrolling intensified, he said.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Una, Kalu Rathod, who was part of the meeting, said representatives from both sides heard each other out, shook hands and assured that nothing untoward will take place in the area.
"I have also given assurance that nothing untoward will take place. We appeal to members of the two communities to start their businesses and open the market," the legislator said.
(With PTI inputs)