Karauli Violence Pre-planned, Arsonists Brought Flammable Material During Rally: CPI(M) Fact-finding Report
The Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s fact-finding report on the communal violence in Rajasthan’s Karauli has found that the incident was pre-planned. The riot on April 2 left around 35 people injured and many shops burned in the Hatwara Bazaar area of Karauli.
According to the police, on April 2, a bike rally to mark the Hindu New Year was passing through a Muslim-dominated area and was pelted with stones after rallygoers raised incendiary remarks and slogans. As the violence escalated, many shops, mostly owned by Muslims, and few bikes were also burned.
The fact-finding team of the CPI(M), led by Bhaadra MLA Balwan Poonia and party leader Dr Sanjay Madhav, met with the district administration, locals, and victims of the violence in Karauli. The press release about the fact-finding report says that during BJP chief JP Nadda’s Rajasthan visit, which was around the time of the violence, focus on the Karauli area was suggested due to the BJP’s poor showing in East Rajasthan in the last Assembly elections. “Right after that, the Karauli violence took place,” the press release said.
The report said that after speaking to the administration and locals, the fact-finding team found that in the area where the violence took place, people from all communities have long lived with peace and harmony. Houses and shops of the religious communities are mixed. The whole area where the violence happened is congested and has narrow lanes.
“Communal forces like the BJP and RSS had prepared for this incident (the violence) far ahead of time and these forces created distrust and communal polarisation in a peaceful area like Karauli where communities lived with each other harmoniously,” the press release said.
The report said that ahead of the procession, rumours were spread and there were efforts to create fear in the minority community, and foster distrust between Hindus and Muslims.
Soon after the alleged stone pelting incident, shops belonging to the minority community members were targeted amid hundreds of shops and burned with extremely flammable materials, the report said. It added that the way the Muslim shops were marked and burned implied that the rioters had come prepared for the arson during the procession and brought the flammable materials along with them.
The report further claimed that the government’s permission to take out the said rally in the area points to its failure and irresponsibility. It listed different causes leading to the violence, such as provocative slogans being raised, permission to take such a procession through a sensitive area and enabling assembly of a massive crowd, not deploying enough police personnel, among others. These were done to create communal polarisation for political gain, the report claimed.
It added that the shops in Karauli were burned in the presence of the police but they did not try to prevent it. The properties destroyed in the violence belonged mostly to minority community members and a few majority community members. But those who were deeply impacted from both communities fall in the category of small to medium shop owners.
The fact-finding team also demanded compensation for the affected people and a strong investigation into the violence and the rioters. It also urged the government to keep track of public and hidden activities of “communal organisations” like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and put in efforts to promote communal harmony, among other things.
The fact-finding report will soon be submitted to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot by the party delegation and urge him to take strong steps.
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