Two days after a bike rally by the BJP youth wing triggered a clash in a Muslim-majority locality in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain, the police invoked the National Security Act against four of its residents and charged three more with rioting and attempt to murder.
The clashes took place Friday when around 60 bikers and 300 workers of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) were passing through the city’s Begum Bagh neighbourhood, raising slogans, said Town Inspector Arvind Singh Tomar of Mahakal police station, where three cross-FIRs related to the case have been registered.
Tomar said this sparked stone-pelting that led to a stampede-like situation. “Around 11 people were injured with one person sustaining grievous injuries,” he said, adding that multiple vehicles were damaged.
Begum Bagh residents allege that the rally was taken through the area on multiple occasions during the day, and that rather than simply sloganeering, the BJYM workers were abusing them. Ujjain Seher-e-Kaazi Khaliqur Rehman said: “They were not slogans but abuses shouted while the rally was crossing Begum Bagh. This agitated people as a result of which stones were pelted from both sides. It also led to damage of vehicles of many residents, their houses, as well as a clinic.”
A day after the rally, the district administration carried out a demolition drive to clear “illegal encroachments” in the area. One house was demolished and another was damaged. Another resident, social worker Mohammad Ayub, claimed: “Based on the video of stone pelting, the officials had come to demolish the house where a woman was seen pelting stones. They realised that it belonged to a Hindu family, so they instead demolished the one standing adjacent to it.”
The district collector did not respond to multiple calls and messages seeking comment.
Rehman said both the district administration and the police had only acted against residents. “Not a single person who was part of the rally has been arrested by the police despite us submitting several pieces of video evidence highlighting them pelting stones and damaging vehicles.”
Those against whom the NSA has been invoked are Ayaz Mohammad, Wasim Aslam, Shadab Akram and Altu Aslam. Three others were booked on charges of attempt to murder (IPC Section 307), rioting (Section 147), voluntarily causing hurt (Section 323) and giving false statement (Section 423). These three include two women—one of them has been arrested and another is absconding.
According to Ujjain Superintendent of Police Satyendra Kumar Shukla, FIRs have been registered from both sides and people are being identified based on video evidence. “Begum Bagh area is communally sensitive and those booked under the NSA had criminal records. The police investigation is objective and FIR has been recorded from both sides. In the first FIR, seven people have been booked, the second FIR is against unidentified persons, while in the third FIR, a person from the rally has been identified.”
Abhilash Pandey, state president of BJYM, said: “This is the seventh incident where the workers carrying out rally have been attacked. The workers were attacked with stones, pipes, cookers and hot water and any action from their side was purely in self-defence”.
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