At least 40 people have been arrested in Gujarat’s Kutch district after three cases were filed to look into the violence on Sunday that allegedly left one man dead and several others injured, including policemen. The arrests have been made on charges of murder, rioting, arson and conspiracy among others.
On Sunday, clashes broke out between members of two communities during a procession to collect funds for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, the police said.
At the rally, reportedly organised by right-wing group the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), “loud religious slogans were raised… that provoked another community” leading to clashes with “swords and sticks” and arson, states one of the complaints filed by an injured cop.
The police had to lob tear gas shells to control the situation, Kutch (East) Superintendent of Police Mayur Patil said.
“After the rally, the body of a migrant worker from Jharkhand was found about 200 metres from the clash site in Kidana village, and the police are trying to ascertain if he was killed as part of that violence,” Mr Patil added.
The police have said the group did not have the required permission to carry out the “rath yatra” on Sunday.
Similar clashes have been reported at Ram Temple fund collection rallies from different parts of the country, including Madhya Pradesh’s Indore, Ujjain and Mandsaur districts.
The problem was recently highlighted by Congress’s Digvijaya Singh, who wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with a cheque of Rs 1.11 lakh for the construction of the Ayodhya Ram temple.
“Carrying lathis and swords and raising slogans to incite a community cannot be a part of any religious ceremony. Such developments cannot be part of the Hindu religion… such developments… damaged the social harmony. You are aware that other religious communities are not against temple construction. So, as the country’s Prime Minister, you direct states to stop fundraising processions where people carrying arms are inciting other communities,” Mr Singh wrote.