Communal clashes broke out between two religious groups in Jhanda chowk of Hazaribagh district, Jharkhand over an “objectionable” Facebook post. The social media post sparked a large-scale violence in the region, leading to the deployment of police to contain the situation. Few vehicles were set ablaze and shops were shut down. Both the communities were reportedly involved in heavy stone pelting, resulting in injuries on both the sides. The injured were rushed to the local hospital.
As per the sources, the Facebook post regarding Prophet Mohammad snowballed into a communal flare-up in the Hazaribagh district. A boy from the Hindu community had posted a “derogatory” post on Prophet Mohammad on June 5, which reportedly angered people from the Muslim community. Few people from the community went on to file a complaint regarding the social media post. Five arrests were made, including the person who had written the post in question.
Following the arrests, minor skirmishes were reported in the Hazaribagh district, which later swelled up into a communal flare on June 7. “People from the Muslim community had lodged a complaint regarding the social media post. They had identified the person who had made such remarks. The person was from Hindu community. He, along with four others, were arrested and were booked for the deliberate act intended to outrage religious feeling under 295 A IPC,” said SP Anish Gupta.
“After the arrests were made, a few skirmishes were reported from other areas. Yesterday, people from the Muslim community had lodged a complaint regarding minor clashes that took place. While they were returning, there was an altercation at Jhanda chowk. People from both the communities started pelting stones. A few vehicles were set ablaze. Few people suffered minor injuries, they were immediately taken to the local hospital. Right now, the situation is under control. We are also looking into the matter,” added Gupta.
Speaking to Newsclick, locals said that anger was building up after the arrests were made. There were minor scuffles, which escalated to a major clash. “There was an exchange of threats between both the communities. But what happened last night was indeed huge. Both the communities were throwing stones at each other. Shops were shut down and vehicles were set ablaze. There was a rampage. People were running here and there to save themselves,” Asif, a local told Newsclick.
“People from both sides have suffered injuries. The lathicharge resulted in many injuries to women, who were taken to the local hospital. Curfew was imposed last night, but now it has been lifted. It was terrible,” he added.
Another local, on the condition of anonymity, said, “We have been facing religious discrimination for a long time now. The yesterday’s incident was a result of that. We are as much of Indians as they are. Why is our Muslim identity a threat to them?”
While the police claim that the situation is under control, locals seem to be skeptical. Police is reportedly patrolling in the Jhanda chowk. Shop owners have been asked to open their shops to restore normalcy.
As people are trying to get over the incident, many of them are trying to put pressure on the police. “Pressure has been put on the police to arrest people who were involved in the yesterday’s clash. It doesn’t matter whether they are Hindu or Muslim. Those who incited the violence should be arrested,” said Asif.