A right-wing youth rally triggered a clash in the Muslim-dominated area of Begum Bagh in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain on Friday, 25 December.
According to ThePrint, the rally turned violent when stones were allegedly pelted at the mobilisers, who were reportedly raising inflammatory slogans.
As a consequence, the police booked four people under the National Security Act (NSA), and charged three people with rioting and attempt to murder, The Indian Express reported.
The local administration also demolished a house and damaged another in a bid to remove “illegal structures” in the area, after reports of stone pelting emerged from the area.
WHAT WAS THE INCIDENT?
The clashes took place around 6:30 pm when over 60 bikers and 300 members of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), as well as other right-wing organisations, were taking out a bike rally to raise funds for the construction of the Ram Temple, as per ThePrint.
Incidents of stone-pelting were reported as they were passing through the city’s Begum Bagh neighbourhood, raising slogans, said Town Inspector Arvind Singh Tomar.
The locals alleged that the workers were raising inflammatory slogans, prompting the residents to react violently.
“Around 11 people were injured with one person sustaining grievous injuries,” Tomar added, saying that a stampede-like situation was created due to the stone pelting, The Indian Express reported.
WHAT ACTION WAS TAKEN?
A demolition drive was carried out a day after the rally by the district administration, for the purpose of clearing“illegal encroachments” in the area. A house was demolished and another was damaged.
Social Worker Mohammad Ayub alleged, as per the Indian Express report: “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 individuals booked under the NSA include Ayaz Mohammad, Wasim Aslam, Shadab Akram and Altu Aslam.
Three others were booked on charges of attempt to murder, rioting, voluntarily causing hurt and giving false statement. Two of these three were women, while one of them has been arrested, another is absconding, The Indian Express reported.
Satyendra Kumar Shukla, Ujjain Superintendent of Police, was quoted in the report as saying: “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.”
WHAT DO THE RESIDENTS SAY?
According to the residents of Begum Bagh, the area had witnessed the rally on multiple occasions during the day, and the right-wing youth workers were not just sloganeering, but also hurling abuses at the locals.
Seher-e-Kaazi Khaliqur Rehman, a local, told The Indian Express: “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.”
Mohammad Ayub, who is also a resident, expressed, “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.”
Ujjain Shahar Qazi Khaliq-ur-Rahman, another resident, told ThePrint that the authorities did not act fairly, claiming that it was the Hindu groups that threw stones first, forcing the residents to retaliate.
He also claimed that the concerned authorities are “terrorising the minority community.”
(With inputs from The Indian Express, ThePrint)