Inter-religious violence spikes in northeast India, Bangladesh

Inter-religious violence spikes in northeast India, Bangladesh
Several bouts of religious violence have been reported in the Indian state of Tripura at the border with Bangladesh over the past days. Mosques have been placed under protection of the state police.
2 min read
29 October, 2021
Restrictions on gatherings were put in place on Tuesday following the first incidents on inter-communal violence [Getty]

Tensions are running high in the northeast India state of Tripura following bouts of inter-communal violence this week, in which mosques and properties owned by Muslims were targeted.

A dozen religious violence incidents have been reported in the state in the past four days.

Restrictions on gatherings were put in place on Tuesday following the first incidents, and state police said they were protecting 150 mosques following stray attacks.

Clashes between the police and several thousands of right-wing Hindu protesters on Thursday left several injured. The mob had rallied to denounce recent attacks against Hindus in neighboring Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority country where Hindus represent less than nine percent of the population.

"Activists participating in the rally ransacked a mosque (…). Later, three houses and three shops were ransacked and two shops were set on fire," a senior police official told Yahoo News.

Mobs in Bangladesh attacked Hindus earlier this month based on rumors that the Quran had been insulted at a Hindu festival. At least seven people were killed, several temples were desecrated, and hundreds of Hindu-owned properties were damaged.

The Indian state of Tripura borders Bangladesh on three sides. It is only connected to India by a narrow land corridor. Muslims make up less than nine percent of the population of the state, which has been under the control of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - a Hindu nationalist party - since 2018. 

The majority of Tripura’s 4.2 million inhabitants are Hindus who left their homes in Bangladesh during the partition of India in 1947. The partition split up the then British-ruled India on the basis of the religious make-up of various districts.

Muslim-dominated districts were turned into the independent state of Pakistan, which later split into Pakistan and Bangladesh.