Scenes of attacks on Muslim households and places of worship in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, following rallies carried out by Hindu right-wing groups.
The government has been given six weeks to respond on the PIL filed by former chief minister of the state Digvijay Singh
NEW DELHI – The Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court on Monday issued notices to the state government, police and administrative officials over negligence to curb violence against minorities in Indore, Ujjain and Mandsaur during Ram Mandir fund collection drive in December last year.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Mohammed Rafiq and Justice Sujoy Paul gave the government six weeks to respond on the PIL filed by former chief minister of the state and Rajya Sabha MP Digvijay Singh. In its petition, Singh through his lawyer Ravinder Singh Chahbra sought from the court to direct the state government to comply with Supreme Court orders with regard to communal and mob violence.
The chief secretary, the principal secretary (home), the DGP, the SPs of Ujjain, Indore and Mandsaur, the Ujjain inspector general, and the collectors of Ujjain and Mansdaur were also asked to respond to the petition.
Singh filed the petition after representatives from minority communities met him in the first week of January in Bhopal over violence taking place in three districts of the state. The violence broke out after rallies were taken out by the Hindutva groups in the Muslim-majority areas to collect funds for construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. During the rallies, the fund collectors were involved in provocative slogans and violence against Muslims.
Singh has expressed his happiness that the High Court took cognizance of his petition and issued notices to the government. In his tweets in Hindi, he said that had the government followed the Supreme Court guidelines with regard to the communal violence, such an incident would not happen.
The Singh’s petition talked about these incidents and alleged that the government’s negligence allowed the violence take place. It said that the officials not just acted in negligently but also “witnessed the entire incident without taking any action against the wrongdoers”.
“The respondents seem to be acting negligently and in recent times omission on their part to take proactive measures had resulted in the incidents of communal violence in Indore, Mandsaur and Ujjian,” it noted.
About violence in Ujjain, the petition said “…some 50-60 motorcycles carrying 3 persons each with sticks, rods, sword, spear and flags started making rounds on the road adjacent to Begham Bagh area (minority dominated area). The persons on motorcycles in order to instigate the minority community started shouting slogans against the minority community. The whole exercise was to show dominance over the minority community. This led stone pelting and ensuing clashes in the area with the support of Police Officials in which many members of minority community were injured”.
The petition also refers to the violence unleashed by Hindutva rallies against Muslims in Mandsur’s Dorana village where people have filed complaint with the local police about the provocative rallies before they were taken out.
“The minority population had to vacate the locality and run for their life as the locality was swarmed by a large gathering shouting communal slogans against the minority community, brandishing weapons, raiding a Masjid and vandalising a Minaret the next day on December 29, 2020. The police and administration personnel were hardly 50-60 in number despite knowing the strength of the number of unruly communal mobs targeting minority communities,” the petition noted.
Similarly, on 29 December, violence was also carried out during the rallies in Indore’s Chandankhedi village. The petition says: “Most of the members were carrying swords, sticks, firearms and other weapons under the leadership of Ex-MLA Manoj Choudhary. This was happening in the presence of police and administrative personnel. A demolition was made by the miscreants from the rally, damage was done to residential houses belonging to minority community, accompanied with incidents of dacoity and robbery. A large number of vehicles were burned. Unfortunately, the Government and police officials made the residents of minority locality leave the area but did little to stop the unruly rally. Members of the minority community were attacked with the intention to lynch.”