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What Led To The Communal Clashes In Nuh?

The day of the Yatra was preceded by a meeting between Nuh Police and district officials, VHP, Bajrang Dal and Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind representatives, on July 27, where the ‘no weapon’ clause was greatly emphasised upon, as per deputy commissioner Prashant Panwar. 

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Remains of the cow vigilante vehicles which were part of the Brij Mandal procession.
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The Brijmandal Jalabhishek Yatra, which starts from Nalhar Mahadev Mandir in Nuh, has been held for the past several years. However, the religious procession started to gain momentum only in the past three years, says Sachin Talwar, a BJP worker. 

Following the murders of Nasir and Junaid—the two Muslim men charred to death by cow vigilantes in Bhiwani—the Haryana Police allowed the procession to pass solely on the terms that any weapons, ammunition or the likes are absent from the ostensibly peaceful “religious procession”. However, in the run-up to the day, the alleged videos of Monu Manesar—one of the prime accused in the Bhiwani Murder case, and a Bajrang Dal member— started doing rounds on social media. 

Soon after, an apprehension could be sensed brewing among the communities involved in the subsequent clash. The murder accused and a self-proclaimed cow-vigilante—Monu was seen saying in a WhatsApp status uploaded from his account on July 29: “I will be in the Yatra in person, and my whole team will be present there.” Nevertheless, Monu did not turn up on the day of the event and later released a statement that he was advised against it by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), as it feared that it could potentially create a stir in a predominantly Muslim residentiary. 

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The day of the Yatra was preceded by a meeting between Nuh Police and district officials, VHP, Bajrang Dal and Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind representatives, on July 27, where the ‘no weapon’ clause was greatly emphasised upon, as per deputy commissioner Prashant Panwar.  
Maulana Yahiya Kareemi, a member of the Jamiat Ulema-I- Hind, confirmed with a statement that they were privy with the procession for the past three years, and were only against the use of weapons. “We flagged that use of weapons was what we stood against,” he said.  

Despite the measures, on July 31 afternoon, violence broke out at Kheda Mod. People from both the procession and the mob accused of having instigated the clash were armed. The intended slogans raised during the procession apparently agitated the crowd which resulted in stone-pelting, eventually from both sides. The mob also set cars and shops on fire. By 4 PM, clashes had spread across Nuh, and police stations, shops and petrol pumps were set ablaze. 

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While the Shiv Temple at Nahar became a refuge for hundreds of people, six got killed and over 70 were injured. Among the deceased, two were home guards and four were civilians. Of the injured, at least 12 were shot at. At least 500 country-made pistols and revolvers were bought from local gunrunners during the clashes. Crates of empty glass bottles, improvised petrol bombs, stones, iron rods and wood sticks were also found on the roof.

A resident confessed to having guns and cartridges kept on the roof, to scare and disperse the crowd but never intended to kill anyone. The alleged plan was to return the firearms to the gunrunners, who would have then sold them to different buyers to ensure that the police is unable to track them. Both sides were prepared for confrontation and informed the police. 

Locals witnessed yatris carrying weapons in vehicles they arrived in, which evidently points to a planned altercation. According to the police, preparations had begun when the alleged video resurfaced on social media.   

When asked, the attendees and Bajrang Dal workers justified the presence or the use of weapons as a ‘licensed warrant’ to protect themselves in the face of uncertainty. “We were unarmed, with just a few five to six licensed guns, against a mob of hundreds, to protect ourselves,” acceded Balwinder Jogi, a BJP worker. He further added that locals from Mewat were scarcely present in the crowd of thousands who led the procession.  While the residents were angered, expecting a possible visit by Monu, the Bajrang Dal members touted it as an incident in exclusivity, painting the Yatra as a religious procession, unaffiliated with any party’s agenda.  

 A total of 116 people have been arrested and 44 FIRs have been registered in different districts of Haryana, until now

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