Haryana Nuh violence: 5 dead, 166 arrested in Hindu-Muslim clashes
Communal violence has again flared up in northern India after a Hindu group marched through a Muslim-majority area in Nuh district
Indian authorities on Tuesday, August 1, imposed a curfew and deployed hundreds of paramilitary forces to different parts of Haryana state in response to violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims that have left at least five people dead.
A mosque was set on fire early Tuesday and a Muslim cleric killed in Gurugram city outside the capital, Delhi.
Around 166 people involved in the violence have been arrested, police said.
"The attackers [who torched the mosque] have been identified and several of them have been rounded up," Gurugram Police said in a statement on Tuesday.
The violence first flared up Monday afternoon when a religious procession organized by Hindu nationalist groups passed through the Muslim-majority Nuh district in the northern Haryana state. Police said two officers were killed in the clashes.
"The procession was meant to move from one temple to another but clashes broke out between two groups on the way, which resulted in the death of four people," Krishan Kumar, spokesperson of Nuh police, told Reuters news agency.
Internet access restricted, curfew imposed
The unrest spread Tuesday to neighboring Gurugram, which is about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from New Delhi. Along with imposing a curfew and deploying troops, authorities said they ordered schools and colleges to remain shut as a precautionary measure.
Mobile internet service was also cut in parts of Haryana.
More than 20 police officers have been injured in the violence and dozens of cars were set on fire, a police statement said.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar wrote that "The guilty will not be spared at any cost. Strictest action will be taken against them."
The state's home minister, Anil Vij, alleged the violence was "engineered" and said police would investigate the clashes.
Communal violence in India is not new, but observers say that religious polarization has risen in recent years under Prime Minister Narenda Modi and the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party.
In 2020, India saw one of the worst Hindu-Muslim violence in years as months of protests against a controversial citizenship law came to a head.