Traffic was lighter than usual on Wednesday and some streets were deserted in the Gurugram business hub south of the Indian capital New Delhi as authorities said the death toll from two days of Hindu-Muslim clashes in the region had mounted to seven.
The violence erupted during a religious procession by Hindus in the Muslim-dominated Nuh district on Monday, resulting in the deaths of four people, including two police personnel, and approximately 60 others were injured.
By Wednesday morning, two more civilians had succumbed to injuries, officials said.
The unrest spread to neighbouring Gurugram on Monday night and continued through Tuesday, with a mosque being set on fire and its scholar killed, and several shops and eateries vandalised or torched.
“The conspirators [behind the clashes in Nuh] are being continuously identified. A total of 116 people have been arrested so far,” Manohar Lal Khattar, the chief minister of Haryana state, where Gurugram is located, said on Wednesday.
Gurugram hosts dozens of multinational companies, including Google, Deloitte and American Express, in a district about 10 kilometres (six miles) from the nearest violence. It was not immediately known whether they were open or if staff had come to work.
While schools in most of the area were permitted to reopen from Wednesday, several institutions opted to suspend physical classes and move online amid concerns for safety.
Police officials, however, said the situation was “normal” and all educational institutions and offices were operating as usual. However, orders banning the congregation of four or more people in public remained in force.
Security forces were also on alert for planned protests by Hindu nationalist groups, including in the capital.
“Additional forces have been deployed in the district and we are closely monitoring the situation,” said Subhash Boken, a spokesperson for Gurugram Police.
In 2020, more than 50 people were killed in religious clashes in northeastern Delhi, the worst sectarian violence in the capital in decades. The trigger for the riots was a citizenship law introduced by the government the previous year that critics have said marginalises Muslims.
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