Following an incident between members of the local Dalit and Muslim communities in Jirapur, Madhya Pradesh’s Rajgarh district, officials bulldozed 48 houses that they deemed to be allegedly infringing on government land on Thursday, May 19.
The brawl reportedly broke out on Tuesday night when a Dalit wedding procession passed by a nearby mosque.
According to Rajgarh Superintendent of Police (SP) Pradeep Sharma, at least five persons were hurt in the stone-pelting, including a six-year-old.
Members of the procession’s band were allegedly pummelling, although Sharma stated that, according to the band members’ claims, they had turned down the volume when crossing the mosque.
According to the Indian Express, authorities stated that members of the local minority Muslim community objected to the procession’s loud music, which sparked a fight between the two groups, resulting in stone-pelting.
Following the incident, a first information report (FIR) was filed under sections 294 (obscene actions and songs); 336 (endangering life or personal safety); 506 (criminal intimidation); and various parts of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (SC/ST Act).
According to the Jirapur station in charge Prabhat Gaud, the procession started playing loud music when it arrived at a neighbouring temple, after which the accused began throwing stones at the group from behind.
Samar Lala, Farhan Khan, Junaid Khan, Sohail Khan, Sabir Khan, Anas Kasai, Dagga Khan, and others were named in the FIR, according to the police.
Despite just seven persons being listed in the FIR, eight people have been detained and 21 people have been recognised as suspects. Six accused’s weapons licences have been cancelled, according to the India Express article.
The municipal administration allegedly identified 18 residences in Jirapur’s ward 4 that belonged to the 21 suspects after they were recognised.
The action would be taken against individuals who threw stones at a Dalit wedding procession, according to Jirapur tehsildar Ashwin Ram Chiraman.
“We have initiated action against encroached land. These people threw stones at the marriage procession of a Dalit Man. The houses of 18 accused were marked for demolition and action would be taken,” India Today quoted Chiraman as saying.
Notices were sent out naming the ‘encroaching’ properties, as well as public statements about a ‘demolition effort.’ The 18 properties selected were demolished on Thursday morning.
Another 30 houses were supposedly partially demolished as they allegedly protruded into a public road.
“Another 30 are homes constructed by encroaching areas of the road leading to Mata Mandir, which is public land. They were issued notices yesterday; at least three notices have been issued in the past,” Chiraman told the Express.
The Chairman said that the accused belonged to the Muslim community. While 30 encroachments on government road belong to people from both communities, since the area is Muslim-dominated, these homes largely belong to those from the community.