In a first, the Ujjain district administration in Madhya Pradesh carried out the demolition of a house amidst dhol and DJ music on Wednesday, 19 July. The house belonged to one of the three accused held over allegations of 'spitting' on a religious procession – 'Mahakal ki Sawari' – on Monday, 17 July.
A devotee captured the incident on a video that purportedly shows a minor Muslim boy 'spitting' from his terrace.
Following the row over the incident, the Ujjain police on Monday night had arrested three people, including two minor brothers. The FIR was lodged on the complaint of one Sawan Lot.
The three individuals were booked under various sections, including 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and 153A (offence committed in a place of worship).
The complainant Sawan Lot – along with his friends Yogesh Bagmar and Ajay Khatri – verbally reported to the police that the procession was crossing Tanki Chowk when they saw three unknown boys 'spitting' on the devotees.
A powerlifter by profession, Sawan Lot told The Quint:
"It's not about any sort of politics for me. I am a powerlifter – and I had gone to take part in Mahakal ki Sawari. I was at Tanki Chowk with my friends when I saw a few boys spitting on the procession from their terrace. There were female devotees present as well, and they were more enraged than any of us. Hence, we shot the video and filed a complaint."Sawan Lot
In the FIR, he is quoted as saying:
"The entire incident was captured on video by a resident of Indore. This incident has deeply hurt my religious sentiments and those of the entire society. We demand appropriate action in this matter."the FIR stated.
Addressing the media after the demolition on Wednesday, 19 July, Akash Bhuriya, Ujjain's Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), said:
"During a recent religious programme in Ujjain, some individuals attempted to disturb the religious harmony. The police registered an FIR against the accused under various sections, leading to their subsequent arrest. We then informed the Municipal Corporation and the Revenue Department about the accused. Today, the illegal encroachment by the accused has been effectively removed in the presence of the Municipal Corporation and the Revenue Department and the police."
Regarding the use of dhol, ASP Bhuriya clarified, "Drums are traditionally used to publicly announce actions such as the removal of encroachments. That is why they were used today as well."
Police Sources Claimed 'Unintentional' Action by the Minor Accused
On Tuesday, 18 July, a police officer posted in Ujjain told The Quint that the accused's actions in the 'spitting' incident were unintentional.
"Based on our investigation and inquiry, it was not intentional. The boys were hanging out on the terrace, and one of them happened to have a habit of spitting every now and then, like many other people. The younger brother was chewing a gum, and there was a green shade cloth installed in the house, preventing the spit from reaching the road where the procession was taking place. There was also a window visor beneath them."The police officer said.
However, he emphasised the importance of avoiding such incidents, especially during religious processions, as they may inadvertently hurt religious sentiments.