Two towns in election bound Madhya Pradesh had communal tensions flaring over the week end, Prithvipur in Tikamgarh and Shajapur, both in Madhya Pradesh. Section 144 was imposed to prevent assembly of people following a clash between two groups in Shajapur. According to the administration, “despite police officials’ request, the sound of DJ music was not decreased by either side and the stone pelting began randomly soon afterwards.”
Meanwhile, the day after Eid, communal tension gripped Prithvipur town in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh on Sunday following the reported death of a man, whose daughter alleged that a Muslim man with whom she had eloped sometime ago was behind her father’s death.
Communal tension persisted in the Maniharwadi area of Shajapur district on Saturday (on Eid) after members of two communities clashed over volume of the sound of DJ which led to stone pelting in the area. The promptness of police intervention, however, prevented a major communal clash and no casualty was reported until a day after the incident. City police arrested 30-35 people in connection with the incident on the basis of CCTV footage, and booked them under relevant sections of the IPC.
According to Shajapur police, a few Muslim youths, who were celebrating Eid by playing DJ music at Maniharwadi Market square of the city on Saturday afternoon, allegedly pelted stones at a procession being carried out by the Rajput community on the occasion of Maharana Pratap birth anniversary, following an argument over lowering the volume of the DJ music.
Reports indicated that about half a dozen people received minor injuries during the clash. One of the two policemen who were injured lost his sight. In addition to that, around 10 vehicles were set on fire and a number of shops were vandalised, according to the police. Heavy security forces have been deployed in the area and section 144 of the CrPc has been imposed, prohibiting the assembly of four or more people.“Tension erupted after an argument between the Rajput community, (organiser of Maharana Pratap birth anniversary procession) and Muslim youths over lowering the sound of DJ music,” said Shajapur superintendent of police Shailendra Singh Chauhan.
He further said, when the procession was passing through Nai Sadak, a Muslim-dominated area, some people requested them to decrease the volume of music being played in the procession. “When the volume was not decreased, some Muslim youths allegedly pelted stones at the procession. Situation turned ugly when both the groups started hurling stones on each other,” said Chauhan.
The situation is under control now and Section 144 of the CrPc has been imposed in the area. “Police is making arrests on the basis of CCTV footages and videos of the incident,” he added.
When asked about the fake news stories of the incident being circulated on the social media, he said, “We are closely monitoring the social media and have advised people to keep away from rumors. If such a situation emerges, we would not hesitate to shut down the internet.”
Town inspector of the area Alok Parihar said that police personnel were marching with the procession, but they had no information about the DJ music played at Nai Sadak by Muslim youths on Eid. “They had no permission to play DJ, when we urged to stop it for a while, they overruled the orders which led to the clash between the groups,” said Parihar.
According to eye-witness Pawan Biyani, who runs a shop on the Nai Sadak, said that at the time of incident, he was at his shop dealing with the customers. “Some Muslim youths were playing DJ music in the corner of the market and a procession of Maharana Pratap was coming from the main road. Everything was normal, before both groups started pelting stones on each other and there was mayhem in the area within a minute.”
He further said, as the situation turned ugly, police resorted to lathicharge and lobbed tear gas shells to control the situation. “Within an hour, police controlled the situation. The city police did a great job.”
While another eye-witness, who did not wish to be named, said, “When the Shaurya Yatra procession reached Nai Sadak, Eid celebration was also in progress in an open space near Mahadev temple. Despite police officials’ request, the sound of DJ music was not decreased by either side and the stone pelting began randomly soon afterwards.
Tikamgarh collector Abhijeet Agrawal speaking to the Hindustan Times, said, “Maniram Kushwaha’s daughter eloped with Saif Khan, son of Karim Khan, two months ago and married him. But Saif abandoned her. Maniram was unhappy with this incident. On Sunday morning, he was found hanging from a tree. Maniram’s daughter and local residents alleged that he was killed by Saif and his family, which resulted in an angry mob torching Saif’s house, shop and car.” Saif and his family managed to save themselves by fleeing from their home.Police said when ASI Nathuram Kaul and other police personnel reached the spot to control the mob, they too were beaten up by the enraged residents.The angry crowd also staged a demonstration by keeping Maniram’s body on the road. Police resorted to cane charge and also lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the mob.
Two years ago, an objectionable WhatsApp post had triggered communal tension. Police have booked one person for sharing objectionable content on WhatsApp and also arrested nine persons for disrupting communal harmony in the region.Reportedly, an objectionable content against a particular community was posted on WhatsApp, spreading communal tension in the area.On the complaint of Suresh, Ummed and some other local residents, police have registered cases against Shahbaz, Firoz, Rashid Khan, Riyaz Khan, Naushad, Bittu, Farmhan, Shafique, Shakir under various sections of IPC and arrested them. Police have also registered a case against Ritesh Rathore for the objectionable post under IT section 295-A.