Shimla: Violent protests erupted Friday in villages of Himachal Pradesh’s Shimla district over the slaughtering of a cow, police said. A mosque and a few shops that were open were attacked.
“More than 4,000 people from various villages gathered at Nerwa (in Chopal tehsil of Shimla district) this (Friday) morning to lodge their protest over the cow slaughtered by a member of a minority community in a village Thursday,” Superintendent of Police R.M. Sharma told IANS. Nerwa is 120 km from Shimla.
The protesters later turned violent and damaged a madrasa at Kothar village near Nerwa, breaking its windowpanes and setting furniture on fire. A mosque at Nerwa was also attacked and a motorcycle set afire.
The shops were closed as a mark of protest and the mob also attacked and damaged some shops that were open.
“Now the situation is under control. Adequate force has been deployed to tackle any untoward incident,” Sharma said.
Police have registered a case under Sections 147, 148, 149 and 153 of the Indian Penal Code.
Deputy Commissioner J.S. Rana said the situation was under control and the shops have been re-opened.
State BJP spokesman Ashok Kapatia condemned the rioting and demanded action against the people responsible for the violence. Leader of the opposition Vidya Stokes too condemned the incident.
“We demanded that adequate security should be provided to the minorities,” she said.
Police Thursday arrested one person on the charge of slaughtering a cow at Khundvi village, 10 km from Nerwa. Five others involved were arrested Friday.
“Abdul was arrested last (Thursday) evening. He killed the cow in a fit of rage as it was not giving milk for more than three years. Early (Friday) morning, five others who were involved in the incident were arrested. They all belonged to a Gujjar family,” Sharma said.
Meanwhile, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and other Hindu organisations have called for a “bandh” (shutdown) in Shimla from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
This has been for the first time that violence against a minority community occurred since the state came into being.