Communal clashes erupt in Jodhpur over Eidgah gate construction; several injured, 50 arrested

Tensions escalated after residents of the locality opposed the construction of the gate on the backside of the eidgah, saying that it would increase the movement of people in that area.
Police personnel detain a person after stone pelting took place during a clash between two groups, in Jodhpur, Friday night, June 21, 2024.
Police personnel detain a person after stone pelting took place during a clash between two groups, in Jodhpur, Friday night, June 21, 2024.

JAIPUR: Violent communal clashes erupted in Jodhpur's Sursagar area on Friday over the construction of an Eidgah gate, resulting in injuries to several individuals, including two police officers.

Tensions escalated after residents of the locality opposed the construction of the gate on the backside of the eidgah, saying that it would increase the movement of people in that area.

The situation quickly intensified as stone-pelting, arson and vandalism ensued, leading to the burning of a shop, tractor and a Bolero vehicle.

Furthermore, two police officers were injured amid the pelting, prompting police action, including lathi charges and the arrest of over 50 individuals. In efforts to quell the unrest, police deployed 4-5 rounds of tear gas shells.

A heavy police presence, along with Rajasthan Armed Constabulary (RAC) forces, has been deployed to restore order. Additionally, Section 144 has been enforced in the Pratapnagar Circle police station area.

IPS Nishant Bhardwaj highlighted the presence of several shops near the main gate of the Idgah at Rajaram Circle in the Sursagar police station area. Two days ago, efforts commenced to dismantle two gates from the wall behind the Idgah, sparking protests from local residents.

Residents from a nearby colony opposed the gate removal, sparking two days of disputes between the two factions. Initially, the police managed to pacify the situation. However, on Friday, tensions escalated as the gate removal persisted, prompting residents to renew their protests and demand a halt to the work. This led to a confrontation with another group supporting the gate removal.

A brief peace was also worked out by the police with the help of senior members from both communities but sudden stone-pelting turned the situation tense again.

According to police, stones were thrown from houses in the areas, including Vyapariyon ka Mohalla, Ambon ka Bagh and Subhash Chowk.

Efforts are on to identify the houses from where stones were hurled at the police when they tried to disperse the mob, they said.

The police commissioner said that the situation is under control and police have been deployed in the entire area. Two FIRs were filed based on complaints from both sides.

Police said people from both sides have been taken into custody and teams are still raiding houses in the locality to apprehend suspects.

This incident marks the third time in the past five years that such tensions have arisen in the Sursagar area. Similar incidents occurred in April 2019 and June 2022, highlighting the ongoing volatility in the region.

Union Minister and Jodhpur MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat emphasised Jodhpur's reputation as a city of peace and harmony.

"Jodhpur is a city of peace and harmony. The district and police administration are capable of teaching a lesson to those who play with law and order," Shekhawat stated. "The state government is also monitoring the situation," he added.

Rajasthan government minister Jogaram Patel acknowledged the long-standing communal tensions in Sursagar, condemning the recent incident.

"There has always been a communal atmosphere in Sursagar. Yesterday's incident was not right," Patel said.

"If any anti-social element takes advantage of this and spoils the atmosphere, it will not be tolerated. We will not allow the communal atmosphere to be spoiled in any form," he added.

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