CLASHES ERUPTED in a Muslim-dominated village in Indore district when members of right-wing Hindu groups, participating in a rally to collect donations for construction of Ram Temple, stopped in front of a mosque and chanted slogans Tuesday. Until late night, police were trying to bring the situation under control.
This comes three days after similar clashes erupted in Muslim-dominated Begum Bagh neighbourhood of Ujjain when a rally being taken out by Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha chanted slogans, leading to stone pelting.
Responding to questions on a demolition drive being carried out in Ujjain at the home of a Muslim resident, who was allegedly caught on camera pelting stones during the clashes, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said on Tuesday: “Jahan se pathar aaenge, wahin se toh nikale jaaenge (The direction from where the stones come, that decides the eviction).” Tuesday’s clash took place in Chandankhedi village under Gautampura police station when the rally of around 200 people stopped outside the mosque and chanted slogans. Senior police officials said this resulted in heated exchanges between members of the two communities leading to stone pelting.
Some local residents claimed that those participating in the rally chanted Hanuman Chalisa outside the mosque while prayers were being offered inside. The situation turned violent when some of them – holding saffron flags and chanting “Jai Shri Ram” slogans – climbed atop the mosque and tried to damage the minaret. Videos of the incident showed the Hindu outfit members also trying to burn down a house and damaging several vehicles.
Yogesh Deshmukh, Inspector General of Police, Indore, “Twenty-four people, mostly from the village, have been rounded up based on video evidence. There will be more arrests on both sides and people who climbed atop the mosque will be identified and booked under relevant sections.”
Senior officials, including Collector Manish Singh and SSP Harinarayan Chari Mishra, were at the spot till late night, trying to defuse the situation.
Meanwhile, in the Ujjain stone-pelting incident, police have booked eight more people.
A total of 15 people have been arrested, of whom five have been booked of under National Security Act and 10 others have been booked for attempt to murder and rioting. All the 15 arrested are residents of Begum Bagh. No one from among those who took out the rally has been arrested so far.
Superintendent of Police Satyendra Kumar Shukla said three or four people were seen pelting stones and they are in the process of being identified. “The house that was demolished by the revenue department was of an individual who had resorted to stone pelting,” said Shukla.
A delegation of five Congress MLAs headed by former minister Sajjan Singh Verma met Chief Secretary Iqbal Singh Bains and DGP Vivek Johri and demanded an impartial probe into the Ujjain clash. Congress MLA Arif Masood said: “If the Assembly session is cancelled because of Covid-19, how is it that permission is granted to carry out rallies. And if these people did not have permission, how is it that no action has been taken against them.”