The old city area of Vadodara witnessed minor communal tension Saturday night as the Muslim community’s tazia processions began, ahead of Muharram, coinciding with the Navratri celebrations in the area’s narrow bylanes. While no rioting occurred, additional security forces have been deployed to ensure peace and calm in the communally-sensitive walled city.
The incident occurred shortly before midnight Saturday when a tazia procession crossed Mandvi to head towards Fatehpura. Some miscreants tore apart the hoardings and banners of Navratri sponsors of sheri garbas installed on the roads, leading to a minor tension between two communities. As groups of both communities gathered to take each other on, police intervention in time prevented a clash. Communal undercurrents have prevailed in the area over the last few days as tazia processions are coinciding with Navratri celebrations. Police officers said the presence of a large number of people on the streets, from both communities, is the reason for the friction.
Inspector, City Police Station, V P Parmar said, “This year, we noticed during Ganesh Chaturthi that individual religious processions were larger than usual as those not installing idols also joined other processions. Now, for the tazia processions too, mohallas who are not installing their own, are joining others. That brings a very large crowd on to the streets. On Saturday night, we witnessed a minor tension when some miscreants tore apart posters of Navratri, but the situation was brought under control. The Navratri posters were also illegal and without VMC permission.”
Parmar said police are gearing up for tight security arrangements with more tazia processions set to coincide with Navratri festivities, especially the sheri garbas played on streets in the old city. “With Dusshera coinciding with Qatal-ki-raat rituals, we have called upon local community leaders and mohalla meetings to ensure that no stones are hurled. It is impossible to control minor disagreements and arguments, but our focus is on ensuring that no one breaks the law,” Parmar said.