Police deny Hindu outfit’s claim on stone-pelting during Ram Navami procession in Vadodara

DCP Jaganiya asserted that every procession led through the city on Thursday had police protection, denying a local Hindu outfit leader’s claims that police failed to respond to the situation.

AHMEDABAD: Violence erupted between Hindus and Muslims in Vadodara during a Ram Navami procession in the city on Thursday. 

When a procession led by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal passed through Fatepura Road with police protection, a brawl erupted between the two groups near the Panjrigar Maholla area. 

The police arrived and surrounded the area after the clash, say reports. While some vehicles were damaged, no one was injured, and the procession continued along its planned route under police protection, according to police. The brawlers allegedly damaged two-wheelers. The police are examining the footage from the CCTV camera installed at the scene for the stone pelters.

Vadodara Deputy Commissioner of Police Yashpal Jaganiya said,  "Some people had gathered when the procession passed before the mosque. But they were persuaded to leave. The area is calm now that the procession has passed."

Ketan Trivedi, president of the Vadodara Bajrang Dal, told local media that the stone-pelting was part of a conspiracy. "This procession is planned nearly every year. Despite this, there was no police presence in the area. Stones were thrown as part of a pre-planned conspiracy," he stated.

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Vadodara Police Commissioner Shamsher Singh, on the other hand, tweeted that "there was no incident of stone pelting anywhere, and police did not lathi-charge, there was only an altercation between two groups during the procession."

A local Hindu outfit leader claimed that when the annual procession was attacked along the same route, authorities failed to respond despite being aware that a similar occurrence had occurred in the past. However, DCP Jaganiya asserted that every procession led through the city on Thursday had police protection.

DCP Jaganiya told local Media that “The procession began at the Harni police station. And a general brawl erupted between the two groups beyond Fatepura Panjrigar Mohalla, within the City Police Station's jurisdiction.”

"The situation is under control. The incident took place when the procession reached a mosque and people started gathering at the spot. This is not a communal riot. We dispersed the crowd and the procession also went ahead on its route. All such processions in the city were already given police protection," the police official told reporters.

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Manoj Ninama, Additional Commissioner of Police, said “No one has been reported harmed as a result of the stone-throwing as of yet. A probe into the incident has been ordered, No one has been arrested yet."

It is to be noted that a similar episode occurred on Ram Navami in Vadodara last year. 

In another incident, two groups in Maharashtra’s Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar clashed over communally charged slogans. Nine police vehicles were torched during the clash. Police had used tear gas shells and pellets to bring the situation under control.  

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