Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh city witnessed scenes of rioting on Thursday evening after Hindutva organisations violated prohibitory orders and took out processions to mark the anniversary of the 1992 demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.

A few policemen and people were injured in the rioting that occurred near Jhanda Chowk around 4 pm. Six motorcycles were burnt, according to Jagran.

Deputy Commissioner Ravi Shankar Shukla confirmed the incident. “There was an altercation on both sides because of which there was some stone pelting,” he told Scroll.in. “The situation is under control now.”

Megha Bharadwaj, the Hazaribagh city sub-divisional officer, said Hindutva groups had sought permission to organise processions on December 6 but the permission was not granted because of possibility of trouble. “We were told by the police it was not safe,” she added.

The administration issued an order under Section 144 on December 5, prohibiting the display of weapons and the use of sound systems beyond a certain decibel, and asked people to desist from making provocative speeches and playing certain songs.

Despite that, Hindutva groups took out several processions and bike rallies. Administration officials intercepted one of the processions, said Bharadwaj. “Questions [about] which group they belonged to [were asked], but they did not reply,” she added. The police impounded a vehicle carrying a sound system as it was blocking a road.

Screenshot of a video of the clash
Screenshot of a video of the clash

The driver of the vehicle ran away on seeing the police. Moments later, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Manish Jaiswal turned up at the police station to protest against the police action, Prabhat Khabar reported. But Bharadwaj declined to comment on this.

Around 4 pm, when another procession was crossing Jhanda Chowk, “somehow someone incited something and stones began to be thrown”, Bharadwaj said. The police resorted to lathicharge and fired tear gas shells to disperse the procession. Seven police personnel were injured, UNI reported.

The clash did not last long, she claimed. “The deputy commissioner, superintendent of police and myself reached the spot and it was contained within minutes,” Bharadwaj added.

The police have detained several people and are examining CCTV footge to identify the attackers. Superintendent of Police Mayur Patel said additional personnel have been deployed across the city to maintain peace.