The Citizen Advocate Collective’s report reveals how the routes chosen for religious processions are sparking communal unrest

A 176-page report released by a collective of citizens and lawyers reveals how organizers of religious processions choose certain communally sensitive avenues to provoke violence.

In his foreword to the report, former Supreme Court Justice Rohinton F. Nariman emphasized “the overriding importance of raising police awareness in all states of India.”

“This can be achieved by first informing them that Muslims in India are Indians,” he stressed.

The Citizens and Lawyers Initiative report entitled Routes of Wrath – Weaponising Religious Processions – Communal Violence While Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti (April 2022) presents a detailed case-by-case analysis of the emergence and spread of communal unrest, the response of Authorities and police in individual cases and how processions on religious occasions are used as a stage to stir up hatred.

“No reason for interfaith unrest is as common and widespread as the religious procession. This is as true of India before independence as it is of the 75 years since we became a free nation. And if one factor were to be singled out as the most important catalyst for communal unrest arising from religious processions, and also for preventing such unrest, it would have to be the route chosen by the organizers of the processions,” said Senior Advocate CU Singh editor of the report , wrote.

Mr Singh referred to the police’s “faintheartedness” in dealing with the constant way in which such religious processions gather along the way and vent hatred. In some cases, he pointed to the police’s “collusion and acquiescence” in approving such sensitive routes for these marches.

Perpetual Violence

The report concludes by stating that “available evidence corroborates statements by civil society groups, lawyers, academics and activists that India has reached a stage of ongoing violence”.

It refers to an open letter from more than 100 retired officials to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which said: “The administration of justice has become the means by which minorities, particularly the Muslim community, can be kept in a state of perpetual fear.” “.

“While the actual perpetration of violence can be outsourced to marginalized groups, there is little doubt about how the ground for their operations is fertilized, how each follows a master script and shares a common ‘toolbox’, and how the propaganda is carried out by party and State apparatus is made available to them to defend their actions,” the report quotes from the letter.

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