Clashes erupted between two communities in Madhya Pradesh's Khandwa district on Sunday, 12 February, after a right-wing mob allegedly broke into a Muslim man's residence at Munshi Chowk in Dubey Colony, placed a Hanuman idol, and began worshipping it.
The mob, reportedly led by Ravindra Avhad, a former councillor candidate in Khandwa's Padamkund ward, allegedly broke into Sheikh Asgar's house, installed the Hanuman idol, and started performing religious ceremonies.
Following this, members of both communities reportedly began pelting stones at each other.
Speaking to the media, Asgar claimed that he was attending a wedding when he got to know that some men had broken into his house. He said that he bought the house nearly three months ago and completed all the paperwork on 18 January.
"Ravi Avhad and around 20-25 men entered our house. We were not at home; we were attending a wedding ceremony when this happened. I had bought the house around 3-4 months back but the paperwork was done on 18 January… They were trying to disturb the environment of our locality."Sheikh Asgar
Confirming that clashes had erupted in Khandwa, Vivek Singh, police superintendent of the district, told the media that "this might have been done deliberately," and that some police personnel, including the city superintendent, sustained injuries in the clashes.
"A religious ceremony was initiated in a private property following which people from both the communities gathered. As the police tried to disperse the mob, stones were pelted from both sides. Some of our policemen sustained injuries."Vivek Singh, Superintendent of Police, Khandwa
FIR Registered Against Members of Both Communities
Khandwa Police has registered three separate First Information Reports (FIRs) against over 60 members of both communities.
The FIR filed on the complaint of Asgar said that the accused, with the "intention of taking possession of the house" of the complainant, entered the home and started performing pooja, and later pelted stones.
In his complaint, Asgar named Ravi Avhad, Ankit, Rahul Gurwa, Sunita Bai, and 15-20 unidentified people. The police lodged the FIR under Sections 294 (punishment for obscene acts or words in public), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), and 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), among other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The other two FIRs were registered on the complaint of two policemen against members of the Hindu and Muslim communities.
The police said that they have deployed adequate force and that the area is now peaceful.