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‘Stone-pelters will be greeted with bulldozer’: BJP defends MP govt action on Khargone riot

BJP Madhya Pradesh in-charge P. Muralidhar Rao blames Congress leader & ex-CM Digvijaya Singh for violence on Ram Navami. State govt has demolished properties of people accused in riot.

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New Delhi: Blaming Congress leader and former chief minister Digvijaya Singh for the violence in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone city, BJP leader and state in-charge P. Muralidhar Rao has said that stone pelters will be “greeted with a bulldozer, not flowers”.

Khargone city has been under curfew almost continuously since Sunday, when stones were allegedly hurled at a Ram Navami procession, leading to arson. According to the local police, around 27 people were injured in the violence. The area has been tense following the torching of vehicles as well as houses and shops. 

Around 77 people were reportedly arrested, and properties of the accused were demolished. However, the state government said the demolition had nothing to do with the violence, but was done because the properties were encroaching on government land.

“People like Digvijay Singh are behind incidents like Khargone, which is why he is spreading such lies,” Rao claimed, while speaking to ThePrint.

The senior BJP leader was referring to a photograph of a man putting up saffron flags on the minarets of a mosque, which Singh had posted on Twitter, alluding that it was from Khargone. However, the picture was found to have been taken in Bihar. Singh later deleted the tweet, and the state police have registered multiple FIRs against him for posting the picture.

“Congress leaders like Digvijaya Singh have been part of this conspiracy to begin with. Their idea is to defame the government. His tweet was intended to create trouble and he had an agenda. Just because he’s a former chief minister doesn’t mean he has a different standing before the law,” Rao further said.

Justifying the actions taken by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government after the violence, Rao said it is government’s responsibility to act against “anti-social elements”.

He also lashed out at the Congress, claiming that the party had an “old tactic” of “linking law and order with religion”.

“It is the Congress’s old tactic to link law and order with religion, and it is important that we don’t get caught in that in the future too. Law and order has nothing to do with religion. The government can’t be expected to take action keeping someone’s religion in mind. Just because someone follows a certain religion can’t be the criterion for taking or not taking action,” he added.

The senior BJP leader also claimed that stone pelting incidents took place simultaneously in several parts of the country during Ram Navami and were a “pre-planned conspiracy”, and said there was a need to be cautious about such incidents in future. 

The Congress had on Wednesday accused the BJP of “sponsoring” the communal violence in Madhya Pradesh, and alleged that the houses of people accused were razed without due legal process, which the state government has denied

Also Read: ABVP, Left students clash over ‘chicken’ in JNU hostel mess on Ram Navmi, 5 injured

‘If a BJP leader had done it, there would have been an uproar’

Rao said that if a BJP leader did “what Digvijaya Singh has done”, there would have been an “uproar not only in the country but the entire world”. 

“Singh always indulges in peddling such fake news. His entire politics is about defaming the BJP and the government. He is carrying out all these activities to instigate riots and vitiate the peaceful atmosphere,” he further claimed. 

Asked to comment on the new avatar of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who has earned the moniker of ‘bulldozer mama’, Rao defended him: “If a person throws stones at you, will you respond by giving them flowers? He’s the chief minister and he’s taken the oath, it is his responsibility to ensure law and order is enforced.”

“Those who are pelting stones will only be greeted with a bulldozer, not flowers. BJP Shivraj Singh ji ka abhinandan karti hai (appreciates) that he is taking all action keeping the situation in mind. This situation demanded a bulldozer-type action and he answered like that,” he added. 

Rao also denied any links between the incident and elections, responding to the Congress’ allegation that “communities are polarised” whenever there are elections.  

‘Congress indulging in votebank politics’

Rao also alleged that parties like Congress are indulging in vote bank politics. “If a Shobha Yatra for Ram won’t take place in India, then where else in the world will it take place?” he asked, countering the Congress’ claims that those leading the procession were discouraged from passing through a ‘sensitive’ area but did not pay heed. 

He also claimed that the Ram Navami procession took place with due permission. “Those who are pelting stones will only be greeted with a bulldozer, not flowers,” he said. 

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

Also Read: Why Gandhis are quiet on MP Congress decision to break protocol, announce Kamal Nath as CM face


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