More Hindu Right Groups, Polarising With Impunity: How Communal Tensions Intensified in Khargone

On April 10, violence engulfed the small town of Khargone.

While the town was celebrating Ram Navami, a rumour spread that the police had stopped a religious procession near the local Jama Masjid.

In response, a second procession moved down the same path. More militant, it aired provocative songs and slogans, and even pulled along a tableau showing a scene from The Kashmir Files. The Muslims responded with stones. And the riot began.

In the days that followed, subsequent developments in the town monopolised most attention. The state went on a demolition drive. In tandem, a clutch of local Hindu right-wing groups declared an economic boycott of Muslims. Some Hindus put up boards saying they wouldn’t sell to Muslims. A list of Muslim-run shops circulated on social media, asking Hindus to not buy from them.

With these developments occupying headlines, the origins of the violence escaped scrutiny.

A lot of my recent reading has been about the silent majority — the folks that stay quiet in the face of evil, emboldening it. Some of that informs this report, especially the last subhead. Do read.

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