Eidul Fitr celebrations in the Jodhpur city of India's Rajasthan state have been marred by communal clashes, attributed to a discord on the hoisting of a "religious flag".
According to Indian publication Scroll.in, the fresh round of clashes first erupted on Monday night as "members of the Hindu and Muslim communities threw stones at each other over hoisting of a religious flag in the Jalori Gate area".
The report quoted Additional Director General of Police Hawa Singh Ghumaria as saying that the incident took place around 11pm.
“There were flags of [Hindu deity] Parashuram near the area where namaz is offered,” Ghumaria said. “There was a dispute about removing the flags as the local Muslim community puts up a flag [every year] on the occasion of Eid.”
Ghumaria added that since there is a mosque near the Jalori Gate area, the police did not allow a mob to gather. “But while dispersing [the mob], tension escalated and there was stone pelting.”
According to Indian news agency ANI, loudspeakers installed in the area for Eid prayers were also taken off during the violence.
Reports from the Indian media said at least five policemen, among several others, were injured in the episode.
Later, following Eid prayers on Tuesday morning, another round of clashes erupted between the two communities in Jodhpur "after some men hurled stones near the Jalori Gate", the Scroll.in report said.
According to The Quint, the rioters also broke window panes of several vehicles, and vandalism was reported in several ATMs as well.
As a result of the clashes, curfews have been imposed in several parts of the city, and the district administration has suspended internet services since 1am on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot termed the clashes "unfortunate" and said the administration had been directed to maintain peace and order "at all costs" in the city.
"Respecting the tradition of love and brotherhood of Jodhpur, Marwar, I make a touching appeal to all the parties to maintain peace and cooperate in creating law and order," the chief minister posted on his Twitter.
According to Scroll.in, the chief minister has directed "state Home Minister Rajendra Yadav, Minister in-charge of Jodhpur Subhash Garg, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Abhay Kumar and Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Hawa Singh Ghumaria to travel to Jodhpur and take cognisance of the situation".
This episode is the latest in a spate of communal clashes that have taken place in India in recent weeks.
Earlier on April 16, six police officers and several others had been injured during violent communal clashes that marred the procession at a festival in Jahangirpuri, a suburban section of New Delhi. Indian police had arrested 14 people in connection with clashes.
On April 2, communal clashes had broken out in the Karauli area of Rajasthan "after stones were pelted at a motorcycle rally taken out to celebrate the Hindu new year, prompting authorities to clamp a curfew, suspend the internet and deploy 600 police personnel.
Around 35 people were injured in the violence, 46 people were initially taken into custody by police for interrogation and a case was registered against 13 people. According to the Indian media, houses and shops were set on fire during the episode. The reports, however, had not specified to whom the properties belonged and the number of properties vandalised.
For its part, Pakistan had strongly condemned the "senseless vandalisation and burning of more than 40 houses of" the Muslim community by "Hindu zealots" during those communal clashes.
The rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has emboldened hardline Hindu religious groups in recent years to take up causes that they say defend their faith, although his party has denied any rise in communal tensions during Modi's reign.