23, Tuesday, Thiruvananthapuram
Hindu militant groups headed by RSS, yesterday attacked two prominent Muslim mosques in Vazhikmukku and Kallambalam area near Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. About 100 militants of the RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) group and its youth-wing Bajrang Dal went on rioting the area by damaging nearly 20 vehicles and smashing plenty of shops and injured several persons, including two policemen. The police have detained four VHP activists in connection with the attack.
The rioters were accusing Muslim hand in losing their advertisement materials of Hindu unity convention. Muslims in the area denied the charges, saying they were not engaged in such acts. They further said that it is the infamous strategy of Hindutva Fascists to start riots with such silly rumours while they actually want to destroy the properties of minority communities. The Police is investigating two RSS activists with notorious criminal back ground, identified as Jagat and `Muttai' Chandran, in connection with the incident.
The reported Hindutva attack caused injuries to Mr. Ramachandran, the Assistant Sub Inspector of Police who was trying to stop the rioters. The Director General of Police of Kerala, Mr. Raman Shrivasthava told the press that initially the incident started with Hindu extremists attack on Vazhimukku Juma Masjid at Vazhimukku around 7.45 p.m. and damaged vehicles parked in the compound. The rioters caused havoc in the Balaramapuram and Vazhimukku area for more than 2 and half hours and smashed properties include public transport buses owned by the state government. The Police officals asked people to be calm and peaceful.
One of the groups has called for a hartal at Balaramapuram on Tuesday. District Collector N. Ayyappan has banned all demonstrations and assembly of people in the troubled area under section 144 of the Kerala Police Act. The police team, which was tailing the VHP march, swung lathis and chased the VHP activists who retreated towards Balaramapuram junction. On their way back, the activists smashed windscreens of vehicles, attacked shops and hurled stones at another place of worship.
The VHP march was taken out from Shali Gothra Theruvu, a local stronghold of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS), the police said. Director General of Police Raman Sreevastava, who visited Balaramapuram, told journalists that the situation was under control and urged the public not to spread rumours.
The police have intensified patrolling and checking of vehicles for arms and explosives. Hindu groups have condemned the spread of Islam in especially rural areas near the capital city of Kerala and stepped up attacks against devoted Muslims and their religious heads, several human rights groups say.