By Pervez Bari
Bhopal: After Muslims of Khargone and Sendhwa in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh having had to bear the brunt of communal violence from rioters of religious Ram Navmi rally and the district administration both, now their co-religionists of the old city of state capital Bhopal are passing sleepless nights following the announcement of the rally by a Hindu organization on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti on coming Saturday (April 16, 2022).
Though the religious procession has not been granted police permission yet, hoardings, billboards, and banners in the walled city giving details of the route and timing of the rally while exhorting Hindus to participate in large numbers is sending a chill down the spine of residents of Muslim-dominated areas of the designated route. People of the area are resigned saying police permission or no permission to rally, the right-wing activists will not hesitate to carry out their plan as announced.
FIR against Hindu-outfit man for trying to incite violence
However, there is a silver lining to this because an FIR has been filed against a right-wing activist after a social media post surfaced on Wednesday afternoon in which he speaks of violence during a rally in Muslim-dominated areas on Hanuman Jayanti.
An FIR has been registered against the user, Pramod Hindu, at Mangalwara police station after a complaint was filed against him at the office of the police commissioner of Bhopal. Pramod has been identified as a member of an organization Jai Maa Bhawani Hindu Sangathan. The organization is preparing to take out a procession (Shobha Yatra) in the Muslim-dominated areas of Bhopal. The procession to begin at 5.30 pm is scheduled to pass through Qasaipura, Itwara and Jumerati, and Sindhi Colony.
The coordinator of Barkatullah Youth Forum, Anas Ali, said: “The procession will coincide with the time of evening prayers of the Muslim community. Bhopal is an example for the entire nation when it comes to communal harmony.” Ali had filed a complaint at the office of the commissioner of police against Pramod Hindu for trying to incite violence.
Commissioner of Police Makrand Deoskar tweeted, “Taking cognizance of the matter, an FIR has been registered in Mangalwara police station and legal action will be taken. We won’t let anyone disrupt the harmony in our city. Special arrangements will be made on the occasion to ensure no violence is instigated.”
Meanwhile, the Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) has submitted a memorandum through its state secretary to the Home Secretary to Govt. of MP and Bhopal Police Commissioner apprehending a breach of peace following the procession of Hanuman Jayanti by Hindu organizations on April 16.
The memorandum said the timing of the rally has been deliberately fixed in the evening which is the time just before ‘Iftar’ (breaking of fast) during this month of Ramazan. Before “Iftar”, in Muslim-dominated areas, small kiosks and hand-carts spring up on both sides of the road doing brisk of business of “Iftari” articles wherein people come out to buy fruits and other essential items for their family.
The memorandum further points out that there have been recent attempts to disturb communal harmony in some districts of Madhya Pradesh in which there has been a loss of public property and life also. Bhopal has been an island of peace, but the way efforts are being made to disturb the atmosphere of communal harmony, there is a lurking danger of peace being breached of the city.
Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the Madhya Pradesh unit led by state vice-president of Irfan-ul-Haq Ansari, also called on the DGP to emphasize to take impartial action in the Khargone riots. During Ram Naomi procession sectarian violence erupted due to objectionable, indecent and obscene slogans were raised which hurt the feelings of Muslims. On the contrary, Muslims were arrested and their houses were also demolished.
The delegation included SDPI State Vice President Adv. Vijay Malviya, State General Secretary Dr. Mumtaz Qureshi, District President Amjad Khan, Vice President Badshah Khan and Aziz Qureshi. The delegation also handed over to the DGP a copy of the online FIR lodged by the party, a CD containing video and photographs taken during the riots.
Intelligence failure or police negligence?
Meanwhile, SDPI, Madhya Pradesh unit, in a statement has alleged that the police intelligence and administration have completely failed to stop the violence during the Ram Navmi procession in Khargone. The police failed to identify such people who could indulge in violence while participating in the procession.
Dr. Mumtaz Qureshi said the police administration should identify and arrest such people who violated the prescribed route of the procession and committed the crime of spreading communal violence by raising communal slogans in the procession and pelting stones at a mosque in the presence of police. He appealed to the people to maintain peace.
Dr. Mumtaz has demanded from the police administration that they should adopt an impartial attitude in normalizing the situation and the Khargone district administration should take legal action without discrimination, without targeting a particular section.
Expressing anguish over reports of police negligence coupled with biased attitude after the incident, he said such incidents pose a challenge to the police’s pragmatic and just image. On the other hand, Khargone administration is destroying their houses and shops in the spirit of taking revenge on Muslims. This action of the administration needs to be strictly stopped.
Bhopal Shahar Qazi meets DGP & Home Minister
Meanwhile, Bhopal Shahar Qazi Syed Mushtaq Ali Nadvi and Bhopal Mufti Abdul Kalaam Qasmi along with Ulema met the state DGP Sudhir Saxena and Home Minister Narottam Mishra amid the rising tensions of violence and government actions on the Muslim community. A memorandum was submitted to the DGP and Home Minister in which it was alleged that the police and rioters are targeting Muslim society. Their houses and shops are being demolished, referring to the violence that took place on Ram Navmi in Khargone in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday.
City Qazi Syed Mushtaq Ali Nadvi and Ulema said that since few months, efforts are being made to spoil the atmosphere of Madhya Pradesh. Under this, saffron flags were raised on the walls of mosques and provocative slogans were raised during Ram Navmi processions in Khargone and Sendhwa. This led to a communal riot. In this, the police and rioters have targeted Muslim society. Their houses, and shops were vandalised and burnt.
They further alleged that innocent people were thrown in jails. The administration also hurriedly demolished many houses and shops of Muslims without investigation, on which 100 families had to flee from Khargone. This is sheer oppression, excess and open violation of law against Muslims.
He quoted a similar incident in village Khamaria of Raisen district where without investigation, one sided action was taken against Muslims and their houses were demolished.
At the same time, he also asked Muslims to install CCTV cameras around all the mosques of the city, so that it is easy to bring out the truth when there is a conflict. While Home Minister Narottam Mishra said on the statement of installing CCTVs on mosques that it is a good initiative. If any confusion is cleared by installing CCTV, then definitely it should be installed.