Rajasthan: Chief minister Ashok Gehlot blames BJP, RSS for communal clashes in Jodhpur

Ashok Gehlot, who is in Udaipur to oversee preparations for the AICC Sankalp Chintan Sihivir, said the BJP was involved in spreading communal hatred all over the country in the name of Hindutva

Rajasthan: Chief minister Ashok Gehlot blames BJP, RSS for communal clashes in Jodhpur

Prakash Bhandari

Intolerance, provocations, and the evil motive to spread communal hatred led to four incidents of disturbances causing loss of peace and harmony in Baran, Karauli, Rajgarhin Alwar district, and Jodhpur. Barring grave incidents of setting shops on fire in Karauli, deft handling by the police and the district administration prevented communal riots to flare up at these four places. The district administration and the police efficiently handled such grim situations with wisdom and not a single death was reported. The police managed to prevent ugly incidents to flare up by using force, but without firing a single bullet.

“We admit there were cases of setting the shops on fire at Karauli, but by and large, the incidents in other places cannot be termed communal riots. In communal riots, killings and bloodsheds are common features, but nothing like this was witnessed at the four places and the administration managed to curb the violence by timely interventions” said Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot.

Gehlot, who is in Udaipur to oversee the preparations for the AICC Sankalp Chintan Sihivir said the BJP was involved in spreading communal hatred all over the country in the name of Hindutva. He said the BJP has particularly targeted Rajasthan and they always look for opportunities to create problems in the peace-loving state.

He said the BJP and RSS always look for an opportunity to spread communal hatred. The BJP leaders during the Eid every time go to Jodhpur’s Idgaah to greet people on Eid, but this time they did not go there which shows that they had instruction to create disturbances, the chief minister added. He blamed the BJP and the RSS for their involvement in the Jodhpur disturbances.

He said that the recent incident of razing a temple in Rajgarh in the Alwar district was the handiwork of the BJP too. The BJP councilors of Rajgarh municipality took the decision to bulldoze the 300-year-old temple to build a road. It was purely a decision taken by the councilors of the BJP, but the Congress was blamed for bringing down the temple. He said the BJP uses all sorts of unethical methods to disturb the peace.

The Chief ministers on Tuesday was accepting greetings from the people who had come in very large numbers to greet him on his 71st birthday at his official residence. But, when the news of incidents of stone-pelting in Jodhpur reached the Chief Minister, he called off the birthday celebration and summoned a high-level meeting. He immediately sent the minister of state for Home Rajendra Yadav, another minister Subhash Garg, who is the in charge for Jodhpur district, Additional Chief Secretary ( Home) Abhay Kumar and additional director general of police ( law and Order) handle the situation. The ministers and officials convened a meeting of the officials of the district administration and soon curfew was imposed in several parts of the old city where such incidents had occurred.

The appeal made through media by the Chief Minister urging people to maintain peace and not indulge in violence had a magical effect and it made situation easier for the police to control.

Chief Minister Gehlot ordered that all such persons who were involved in the arson should be arrested and cases should be booked against them without any prejudices and their political affiliation. Gehlot said all such miscreants will be punished by the law to ensure that they do not dare to indulge in any communal incidents.

The two groups of people indulged in fixing flags on the statue of freedom fighter Balmukund Bissa. On Monday night some people fixed a few saffron flags on the pedestal of the statue of Bissa and on Tuesday morning after the Eid prayers people from the two groups started assembling near the statue and there were heated arguments.

Some youth belonging to one community then covered the statue of the freedom fighter Bissa with its flag and this provoked the other group to hurl stones. But the posse of a thousand policemen swung into action and dispersed the crowd. Later some incidents of stabbing were reported in Moti Chowk area and a motorbike was set on fire. As the pelting of stones, destroying of two ATMs and vandalizing incidents of a few shops took place, the police again swung into action and used lathi charge.

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union minister for Jal Shakti who is a member of Lok Sabha from Jodhpur, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Rajendra Gehlot, BJP MLA from Jodhpur Suryakanta Vyas and the BJP district unit President, who were monitoring the incident from Sunaron Ka Bas in the old city failed to convince the BJP party workers who were involved in pelting of stones. Instead the party workers sat at a place and started reciting Hanuman Chalisa.

On the other hand, Manisha Panwar, the Congress MLA went to the people and managed to convince them to stop pelting stones.

Provocateurs managed to encourage people from the two communities to indulge in arson, but the police prevented looting and setting fire to the shops.

“It's the first such incident to happen in the history of Jodhpur where the two communities lived in complete harmony. Jodhpur city has produced three Chief Ministers Jai Narayan Vyas, Barkatullah Khan, and Ashok Gehlot. All three leaders were known for their secular stand. But the situation has changed in recent time and some people indulged in hate and spreading communal feelings that have disturbed the secular fabric of the city” said Meghraj Vyas, an old retired teacher.

Meanwhile, the police have started booking cases against all those who were indulged in Tuesday’s incident.

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