Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday, 14 April, justified the bulldozing of "illegal structures" belonging to people who were allegedly involved in the recent riots in Khargone.
At least 16 houses and 29 shops, mostly owned by the Muslim community, were demolished by the district administration on 11 April, one day after the violence.
Chouhan further stated that his government will punish everyone who was guilty of indulging in riots.
"Some people are conspiring to spread riots in the state. They want to set the state on fire. I appeal to people to maintain peace and harmony. Nobody should bother about their security and honour," the chief minister said during an event in Bhopal, as reported by PTI.
CM Chouhan said that he will ensure that the houses burned in the riots will be rebuilt.
"Shouldn't bulldozers be used against those who trouble the poor... the houses of the poor were burnt in Khargone. They should not worry as 'Mama' will build their houses. We will recover from those who burnt their houses," he said.
While addressing a meeting in Mhow (officially Dr Ambedkar Nagar) where he paid tributes to Dr B R Ambedkar on his 131st birth anniversary, Chouhan asked, "The houses of persons belonging to the SC community were set ablaze (by the rioters in Khargone). Why shouldn’t action be taken against such people?"
Dozens of people were arrested after Madhya Pradesh's Khargone saw stone pelting and arson during a Ram Navami procession in the district on Sunday, 10 April.
The police have reportedly arrested 121 people in connection with the riots so far.
Click here to read The Quint's ground report from Khargone.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)