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14 arrested after communal violence in Indian capital

Police in the Indian capital have arrested 14 people after communal violence erupted during a Hindu religious procession, leaving several injured

NEW DELHI — Police in the Indian capital have arrested 14 people after communal violence erupted during a Hindu religious procession, leaving several injured, local media reported on Sunday.

The suspects have been arrested on charges of rioting and criminal association, among other charges, following the Saturday night incident, senior police officer Usha Rangnani said, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

At least nine people, including eight police officers, were injured and treated in hospitals, Rangnani said.

Authorities say Hindu and Muslim groups in Jahangirpuri, a district in northwest New Delhi, threw stones at each other during a religious procession celebrating the birth of Hindu god Hanuman on Saturday night. Police were investigating the incident and it is still unclear what sparked the violence.

It was the worst violence in New Delhi since 2020, when 53 people died in large-scale communal unrest amid tensions over a controversial citizenship law that excluded Muslims.

The Delhi Police Commissioner tweeted late Saturday evening that the situation in the neighborhood was under control after the deployment of additional forces.

The capital’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, called for peace in the city and condemned the incident.

In videos posted on social media, the streets of Jahangirpuri are littered with broken glass and stones while photos show heavily damaged vehicles. The unrest came after similar reports of communal violence and hate speech in a handful of other Indian states over the past week.

On April 10, a number of people were injured after anti-Muslim songs were played over loudspeakers during a procession to mark the birth of the Hindu god Ram in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, reports said. local media reported. A day later in the western state of Gujarat, one person died and many others were injured in the violence following the festival, prompting curfews and a ban on gatherings in parts of the state. .

The spate of recent religious attacks has sparked outrage and strong criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party.

Communal violence in India is not new, with periodic clashes since the British partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, but observers say religious polarization has increased under Modi, further deepening fault lines against minorities and heightening tensions.

On Saturday, leaders of 13 opposition parties wrote a statement urging Modi to condemn the spate of religious attacks and expressing concern over “the recent outburst of communal violence seen in several states”.

“We are extremely distressed by the way issues related to food, clothing, faith, festivals and language are deliberately used by sections of the ruling establishment to polarize our society,” they said. writes the leaders.

ABC News

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