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Unraveling the 2023 Nuh Violence

“Jaise ki aam ya koi aur phal ped se girta hai, vaise hi ghayal log zameen par gir rahe the…”

Anil Mohania, a local journalist, told this to the Quint when interviewed about the stone-pelting, bloodshed and pandemonium that broke out in front of his eyes on 31st July.

The year 2023 will be etched in the chronicles of the town's history as a time of tumultuous events that revealed the underlying conflicts within Nuh's tapestry. These outbreaks occurred over a brief period of time, and spurred debates on various issues, from socioeconomic disparities to the impact of digital media in moulding public perception.

The violence that gripped the town exposed many of the underlying factors that had long been simmering. Nuh, a town with a rich variety of cultures, religions, and traditions, had struggled to find a balance between its diverse demography and rate of urbanisation and economic shifts over the years.

Although it has been difficult to establish accurate facts, it is widely accepted that a Bajrang Dal activist in Ballabhgarh released an offensive video on social media that was the catalyst for the conflict.

A cow vigilant who was detained for the February murders of two Muslim men in Bhiwani was also slated to march in the procession. While he was not present in the march, multiple reports claimed he was "spotted" in one of them.

The attackers easily outnumbered the policemen that were present. As the situation instantly deteriorated, the 200 participants in the yatra were attacked with stones, petrol bombs, and sticks. Ten minutes after the Vishva Hindu Parishad procession began, at a peak time of the day, clashes between the two factions commenced. The Hindu side initially fled, but later retaliated.

Several vehicles, including police cars, and shops were set on fire, causing significant damage and disruption in the neighbourhood. Hundreds of people took refuge at the nearby Shiv temple, and remained inside for multiple hours. Curfews were put in place and security personnel were deployed to restore order, while police from neighbouring districts came in to help compose the situation. The sizable manpower was not enough to compose the intensity of the riots.

Adding fuel to the fire was the amplification of misinformation through social media platforms. False narratives, manipulated images, and rumours spread like wildfire, escalating tensions and entrenching divisions in the community.

The implications of the 2023 Nuh violence will forever ripple through multiple layers of society. On a micro level, the incidents underscore the urgency of fostering community dialogues and reconciliation efforts. Healing the wounds inflicted by the violence necessitates open discussions, empathy, and a collective commitment to bridging divides.

Zooming out, on a macro level, the events hold a mirror to broader societal issues. The violence is a sharp and crucial reminder of the perils of economic disparities and the need for inclusivity of all in modern society. The power of misinformation in escalating tensions and sowing discord highlights the challenges of the digital age. The town's experience gives valuable insights into preemptive strategies, fostering resilience, and nurturing a sense of unity.

This is just one example from the many clashes that have been occurring on similar grounds in India for a long time. Unfortunately, many of us are unaware, or turn a blind eye to such incidents happening in our country.

This incident is as a poignant testament to the delicate and intricate web of factors that possess the potential to spark tensions in a diverse community undergoing rapid change, like Nuh. It highlights the need for addressing economic inequalities, prioritizing open dialogue, and promoting media literacy.

As Nuh struggles to heal its torn social fabric and move forward towards a better future, the lessons learned from these events will hopefully guide the town to become more harmonious, inclusive, and resilient in the upcoming days.

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