The town of Chhabra in the Baran district of Rajasthan witnessed communal clashes on Sunday. A scuffle that happened on Saturday sparked tensions in the area. The scuffle led to the stabbing of two youth in the area. This resulted in violence and arson.
Mobs vandalized shops, warehouses, and vehicles. Dozens of vehicles and shops were set on fire. To bring the situation under control, curfew was imposed in the area and the internet was suspended.
How Has The Communal Clashes Unfolded?
A scuffle between two groups on Saturday created tension in the area. The next day, mobs armed with sticks, rods, and weapons were moving about it in the locality. Violence erupted when one such group was marching through the market area forced the traders to close shops in the Aliganj and Ajaj Nagar areas. This sparked violent clashes in the area.
The clashes spread soon to other areas. Armed mobs went on a rampage vandalizing shops and warehouses. Vehicles in the vicinity met with the same fate. The vegetable market, medical store, and a few other shops in Dharnawada Circle, Ajaj Nagar, and Aliganj along with vehicles were set on fire. The list of vehicles torched includes a fire tender and a private passenger bus.
Local police, the Special Task Force (STF), and the Rajasthan Armed Constabulary (RAC) were deployed to control the situation. Senior officials of the district – Divisional Commissioner Kailashchand Meena, Inspector General Ravidutt Goud, Collector Rajendra Vijay, and Superintendent of Police (SP) Vinit Bansal – reached the area to take stock of the situation.
SP Vinit Bansal commented, “The situation is very tense. Violence by the mobs has been continuing and we are trying to control the situation.”
The police resorted to a lathi charge and tear gas to bring the situation under control. There are reports of 11-12 shots being fired in the air. Several policemen received injuries during the process.
The police asked members of the different communities to maintain calm and peace. They have asked them to remain indoors. This was a part of the measures to restore order in the area.
Internet services were suspended in the area to prevent the circulation of rumors. The administration imposed curfew in the area to bring the law and order situation in control.
District Magistrate and Collector Rajendra Vijay taking into consideration the seriousness of the situation. Section 144 was put in place to restrict the movement of people. The people could not move about or travel in the locality. Any individual or group of people seeking to enter the area required permission from the SDM. Relaxations in curfew would be announced to let the public buy essential goods.
The curfew would continue from April 11 till further orders were passed by the office of the collector. Internet services were suspended till 4 pm on April 13.
There is heavy police protection in the area. Personnel of the police force, the STF, and the RAC conducted flag marches in Chhabra. There are attempts to resolve the issue through talks between leaders of the community.
Under heavy police deployment, the town of Chhabra is witness to an eerie silence. The police are conducting searches in the locality to identify the culprits responsible for the vandalism and arson. The shop owners whose shops were attacked have filed cases at the local police station. The situation continues to remain tense.
The local MLA Pratap Singh Singhvi blamed the police for the entire incident. He alleged that the police did not take the matter of the stabbing of the two youth seriously. This lapse by the police resulted in the loss of property, he said.