Empty streets after a curfew was enforced in the aftermath of riots in Nuh, Haryana state, India, 01 August 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/VINAY GUPTA

Security beefed up in tense Nuh ahead of planned Hindu procession

New Delhi, Aug 28 (EFE).- There was heavy police deployment and escalated tensions on Monday in Nuh, a town in northern India, ahead of a planned procession by a Hindu extremist group following a wave of sectarian violence that left six dead in the area early August.

“The situation is completely under control, there is no untoward situation. The worship in the temple is going on, the local people are allowed to worship. Six leaders of national importance are allowed to do the puja in the temple. There are around 1,800 policemen deployed,” Nuh’s superintendent of police, Narendra Bijarniya, told EFE.

On July 31, a religious procession organized by a far-right Hindu group, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), was attacked by a mob in the mainly-Muslim town of Nuh in the northern Haryana state.

This triggered a wave of violence between Hindus and Muslims that spread in the following days to several cities in the state and left six dead, including two security guards and an imam, and led the authorities to impose curfews and internet blackouts.

The Haryana authorities responded by arresting over 100 people, but also by demolishing hundreds of allegedly illegal buildings belonging to the Muslim community, a move that led the Punjab and Haryana High Court to question whether this practice was “an exercise of ethnic cleansing is being conducted by the State.”

In the midst of this climate of tension, the VHP decided to resume the procession.

“The Hindu society of Mewat has decided to organize the Yatra with perseverance and resolve,” VHP General Secretary Surendra Jain said.

The police said that Jain, who also took part in the procession attacked a month ago, was in Nuh on Monday.

Monday’s procession takes place in defiance of the district administration’s refusal to give permission to the VHP to hold it, according to Nuh’s police, citing fear of further sectarian clashes and a G20 event in the area.

Organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have denounced the growing religious polarization in India since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party’s arrival in power in 2014 amid an increase in the repression of religious minorities. EFE