Violence broke out across different states following clashes during the Ram Navami celebration on Thursday. While stones were hurled in Gujarat's Vadodara, in West Bengal's Howrah district vehicles were torched and shops were vandalised. In Maharashtra’s Aurangabad, a mob allegedly attacked police personnel a day after two groups clashed in the area.
Violence in Mumbai
Two groups clashed during a Ram Navami procession in Mumbai on Thursday night, police said.
The incident occurred at Malvani in suburban Malad (West) when the procession was going on and some people objected to high volume DJ and loud music accompanying it, an official said.
Some of the participants alleged stone pelting, which created panic among people, he said. However, police did not confirm the stone pelting incident.
Additional police personnel were called to the spot and force was used to disperse the crowd, he said. The situation in the area was under control, said the official. Senior police officials and local politicians visited the area and appealed for peace.
Later, supporters of a right-wing organisation gathered outside the Malvani Police Station and demanded action against those who allegedly pelted stones.
Violence and arson in West Bengal
Violence and arson were reported from West Bengal's Howrah district after clashes broke out between two groups during Ram Navami festivities, following which several vehicles were torched and shops were ransacked in the area when the procession was passing through the Kazipara locality.
Several people were detained in this connection, a senior police official said. Four fire tenders were pressed into service to extinguish the blaze.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reacting to the incident said culprits won't be spared, and the law will take its course.
The police used force to disperse the mob. A large contingent of police was deployed in the locality where the situation is stated to be under control.
The chief minister slammed the BJP for allegedly trying to stoke communal tension during the Ram Navami procession in Howrah and said those involved in the incident would not be spared.
The VHP organized 1,000 large and small processions across the state on occasion. Chanting 'Jai Shri Ram', thousands of people participated in those processions in Howrah, Kharagpur, Barrackpore, Bhadreswar, Siliguri and Asansol. Drumbeats, saffron flags and giant cutouts of Lord Ram featured prominently in these processions. Some of those participating in the marches were also armed with swords and tridents.
BJP corporator Sajal Ghosh, who participated in one such rally in Howrah's Ramrajatala, justified the carrying of arms by stating "Lord Rama had used weapons to vanquish the demons."
Stone pelting in Vadodara
Stones were hurled at two Ram Navami processions in Gujarat's Vadodara city on Thursday, police said, adding that some persons were injured in one of the incidents.
While the first incident took place near Panjrigar mohalla in the Fatehpura area in the afternoon, the second took place in nearby Kumbharwada in the evening.
While no one was injured in the Fatehpura incident, some persons including women were injured in the stone pelting by a mob in Kumbharwada, police said.
The procession that came under attack in Panjrigar mohalla had been organised by VHP. The other procession had been organised by residents.
Local BJP MLA Manisha Vakil was part of the procession which came under attack in Kumbharwada.
"When the `shobha yatra' (procession) was passing peacefully, some people suddenly started throwing stones at us. Some women who were part of the procession got injured. Police are trying their best to maintain law and order. Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi called me and took a stock of the situation on the ground," said Vakil.
Videos of the incident showed people running for shelter after stone pelting began. A chariot carrying a Ram idol was pulled away to a safe location.
Some of the injured told reporters that stones came from nearby terraces. City police commissioner Shamsher Singh visited Kumbharwada area after the incident.