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Police officers stand guard in a residential area of Jahangirpuri after a conflict between members of two communities during the Hanuman Jayanti procession in New Delhi
Police were investigating the incident and it remains unclear what sparked the violenceImage: Amarjeet Kumar Singh/AA/picture alliance
ReligionIndia

India: 14 arrested after communal violence in New Delhi

April 17, 2022

Clashes between Hindus and Muslims erupted in the Indian capital during a Hindu religious procession, injuring several. It comes as religious clashes are reported elsewhere in India.

https://p.dw.com/p/4A2Zk

Police in India's capital city New Delhi said on Sunday that they arrested 14 people in connection with clashes between Hindus and Muslims during a Hindu procession.

It was first major violence reported in the Indian capital since 2020, when 53 people died in Hindu-Muslim clashes over a controversial citizenship law.

What we know about the clashes

The clashes started on Saturday when a rally celebrating the Hindu religious occasion of Hanuman Jayanti was passing by a local mosque in the northwestern Delhi area of Jahangirpuri.

Violence broke out as the opposing groups pelted stones and set vehicles on fire. One police officer was quoted by the ANI news agency as saying that some people brought swords to the clashes.

The situation was brought under control with heavy police deployment, authorities said. 

It is unclear what sparked the violence.

Police said they were looking for information on the remaining rioters, and had arrested one rioter who shot bullets. 

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

Police officers among injured

According to a police spokesperson, at least nine people, including eight police officers, were injured during violence that marred the procession at a festival in Jahangirpuri, a suburban section of New Delhi. 

Local media reports said Delhi Police Sub-Inspector Medhalal Meena was shot in his hand, but was in a stable condition. Meena told ANI that he "caught a bullet and went to the hospital on PCR."

There were no reported deaths from the incident.

Religious clashes on the rise

Reports of religious clashes and stone pelting were also reported on the same day from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttarakhand, said Hindustan Times newspaper. 

What's behind tensions in India's Karnataka?

In recent weeks, religious clashes between the majority Hindu and the minority Muslim communities have been on the rise in several parts of the country.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which has emboldened several hardline Hindu groups. The party has denied any role in the rise of communal tensions. 

"Fringe elements, who are unable to digest the peace and prosperity in the country, try to defame India's inclusive culture and commitment," Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told The Economic Times newspaper.

tg/fb  (AP, Reuters, dpa)

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