Two days after a communal clash erupted in Khujner town of Madhya Pradesh’s Rajgadh district, the police have booked members of the Muslim community for sedition and for promoting enmity on religious grounds.
The police had initially booked 16 members of both communities under sections related to rioting, use of obscene language and criminal intimidation, among other charges, after a brawl during a cultural programme organised to mark Republic Day.
Members of both communities had lodged complaints against each other. The police have so far arrested six persons in connection with the clash. The administration had imposed Section 144 in the town on Saturday.
In its complaint, the majority community had accused the Muslims of raising “anti-India and pro-Pakistani slogans”. Home Minister Bala Bachchan had on Sunday said it was a minor skirmish and there was no evidence to support the allegation that “anti-India slogans” had been raised.
Rajgarh SP Prashant Khare told The Indian Express that the police added Sections 124 A (sedition) and 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion) on Monday on the basis of allegations that “anti-national” slogans were raised. He said the situation in the town is peaceful.
The police action came amid allegations by the Opposition BJP that the police had been biased against the majority community. Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who will visit Khujner on Tuesday, alleged, “Some people attacked the organisers of an event after patriotic songs were played.’’
He said some schoolchildren had been injured in the incident and there was anger against the administration.
BJP vice-president Rameshwar Sharma accused the home minister of protecting “anti-national” elements by playing down the incident. “It’s not an ordinary incident, it’s a case of sedition,’’ he said on Monday.
In-charge of Khujner Police Station Ramkumar Raghuvanshi said six persons have been arrested so far. Without giving details, he said six persons who were close to the spot have been arrested and sent to jail.
This is the first instance of communal tension after the change of guard in MP.