Bhopal: A rally by Bajrang Dal and other Right-wing organisations to raise funds for the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya allegedly came under attack when it passed through a Muslim-dominated area in Ujjain district of Madhya Pradesh.
Stones were allegedly pelted at the rally when it passed through the Begumbagh area Friday around 6.30 pm.
Residents of Begumbagh, however, alleged they were provoked by the inflammatory slogans raised during the rally that passed through their neighbourhood, not once but twice, Friday. The residents also claimed the Hindu groups pelted stones at them first, prompting them to retaliate.
The district administration, however, said there was no evidence so far of inflammatory slogans being raised at the rally.
The local administration, meanwhile, Saturday pulled down a two-storey house in the area from where stones were allegedly pelted at the rally. The police also arrested eight persons and booked four of them under the National Security Act (NSA). Muslims in the area have lodged a complaint too, alleging they were attacked first, the police said.
Tension prevailed in the area Saturday when the local administration officials accompanied by a large police force gathered to demolish the house, which was identified from videos of the stone-pelting incident, and to make more arrests.
The residents tried to stop the administration from demolishing the house and called the action discriminatory, alleging that stones were also pelted by the Right-wing groups.
Ujjain Shahar Qazi Khaliq-ur-Rahman told ThePrint the administration’s action was not proper given that the Hindu groups threw stones first, forcing the residents to retaliate.
“I don’t think the RSS and the VHP ask their members to raise slogans against Muslims near their houses or pelt stones at them, but there are some elements who do so,” he said.
He claimed that a few vehicles and autos belonging to Muslims in the area had been torched during the rally, adding that the administration and the police are “terrorising the minority community”.
No evidence of inflammatory slogans, says Ujjain collector
Ujjain Collector Ashish Singh, however, told ThePrint that their actions “are based on videographic evidence”.
“Those seen pelting stones were identified and the house was demolished only after establishing that stones were pelted from there,” he said.
Asked to comment on the allegations that the Hindu organisations raised incendiary slogans, the collector said, “There is no evidence so far.”
“Even if the allegation is true, stone-pelting can’t be justified. If we get evidence of slogan-shouting, we will register a separate case,” he added.
Singh said action will also be taken against a Hindu activist, who was seen pelting stones during the rally.
“No one will be allowed to take law into their hands,” he said, adding that more arrests will follow.
‘What’s objectionable in Jai Sri Ram slogan?’
Asked about the allegation of Hindu groups raising inflammatory slogans during the rally, Ujjain-based RSS activist Sameer Chaudhary asked: “What’s wrong and objectionable in raising slogans like Jai Shri Ram?”
He said the rally comprised college students and members of organisations like the Bajrang Dal.
Begumbagh was the same locality that saw protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) earlier this year with demonstrators squatting for days on one part of the road that leads to the famous Mahakal temple.
A Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha leader was detained under the NSA by the then Kamal Nath government when he warned the district administration of disturbances if the anti-CAA protesters were not removed from the locality.
Meanwhile, Abdul Samad, a community leader in Dhar city, submitted a memorandum Saturday to the district collector, alleging that inflammatory slogans were raised against Muslims when a huge rally was taken out Friday in the city by Hindu organisations to raise funds for Ram Temple construction.
Samad demanded that action should be taken against those who took out the rally because they carried arms and also for violating Covid-19 protocol.