A viral video of hate-offender Kapil Mishra is making the rounds on social media. In it, Mishra is heard inciting communal hate in a speech he made on April 10, 2022 Ram Navami, around the same time that the Khargone violence took place 40 kms away. Opposition party officials like senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh have alleged links between Mishra’s speech and the violence that ensued in the day.
As many as 10 houses were set ablaze near Talab Chowk mosque on Sunday evening amidst clashes between participants of a Ram Navami procession and local residents. Over two dozen people, including Superintendent of Police (SP) Siddharth Choudhary, were injured during the stone-pelting violence. The clashes eventually spread to other areas in the city.
Reacting to the news, Singh condemned the state government for allowing people to join the procession while armed with swords, lathis and rods. He also asked the government about whether the Khargone administration and police were aware about this speech.
“Is this type of speech not inciting the public on the basis of religion? This is a speech of a place in Khargone and where did Kapil Mishra’s speech take place? Was the Khargone administration and the police not aware of this?” he asked in a tweet.
क्या खरगोन प्रशासन व पुलिस ने यह भाषण नहीं सुना? क्या इस प्रकार का भाषण जनता को धर्म के आधार पर भड़काने वाला नहीं है? यह खरगोन में एक स्थान का भाषण है और कहॉं कहॉं कपिल मिश्रा जी के भाषण हुए? क्या खरगोन प्रशासन व पुलिस को इसकी जानकारी नहीं थी?@INCMP @ChouhanShivraj https://t.co/4pR97ok4ow
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) April 12, 2022
While one could still debate the link between the Chowk violence and Mishra’s speech owing to the timing of the incidents, Mishra’s words certainly had an impact on the communal environment in the region. A day later, the Indian Express reported of bulldozers entering the Khaskhaswadi region of the district and tearing down houses. One of these houses was built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. However, following the demolition drive, the District Commissioner told the newspaper that the house was built on encroached land. Despite the family having documents that show how the house on Birla Marg was registered in the name of Hasina Fakhroo after the death of her husband.
While Mishra did not explicitly speak of tearing down houses, he said that he and his gang “will invade and attack any house from where a “Moosa exits”. This is in connection with his earlier allegation that some youths on April 9, sloganeered in the name of Burhan Wani inside Jamia Masjid and demanded freedom for Moosa terrorists.
He also warned Hindus against “what happened in Kahsmir should not happen in our mohallahs”. Endorsing The Kashmir Files, he warned that people need to watch the movie and “understand” to prevent versions like Delhi Files and Khargone Files.
“We should not have an identity other than Hindu. If a person talks about any identity other than Hindu, talks about caste, then understand that that person is preparing to make your Kashmir Files. They are dividing us,” he said.
As a response to the anger towards his speech, the BJP on April 12 distanced itself from Mishra. While the state police confirmed to the BJP that Mishra was not present at the scene of violence, Congress leader Singh has been named in an FIR for criticising Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s administration.