Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said that “hate, violence and exclusion” were weakening India, a day after clashes broke out in five states during Ram Navami processions.
On Sunday, a 65-year-old man died in Gujarat’s Khambat city, while several people, including police personnel, were injured in Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand. A mosque was allegedly attacked in Goa and incidents were stone-pelting were reported from the state.
Several students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi were also hurt on Sunday evening in a scuffle.
Members of the Left student outfits alleged that those affiliated to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi, the students’ body of the Bharatiya Janata Party, tried to stop non-vegetarian food being cooked in the university’s Kaveri Hostel. Meanwhile, the Hindutva student organisation accused Left activists of disrupting a religious ceremony to mark Ram Navami
“The path to progress is paved with the bricks of brotherhood, peace and harmony,” Gandhi tweeted on Monday. “Let’s stand together to secure a just, inclusive India.”
Other political leaders also denounced Sunday’s violence. Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said “intolerant nations look like this”.
Maharashtra Minister of Tourism and Environment Aaditya Thackeray told ANI that what happened in Jawaharlal Nehru University was “wrong”.
“Focus should be on studies,” he told the news agency. “Gender equality and oral hygiene issues should be talked about.”
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly Suvendu Adhikari shared a video of a clash that took place in the state, alleging that police attacked a procession in Howrah.
He said on Twitter that “Ram bhakts [devotees] aren’t safe in West Bengal”.
“Howrah Police Commissionerate personnel thrashed participants of a Ram Navami procession at Shibpur” Adhikari wrote. “Many got injured. Can’t Sanatani devotees practice their religion in this state safely?”