“Razing homes on the basis of a WhatsApp forward without getting a fair hearing cannot be the new normal in a nation based on rule of law. If this isn’t a state complicit terrorising minorities, what is,” asks a Congress’s national spokesperson
NEW DELHI – The unsavoury incidents surrounding Garba events in Madhya Pradesh led to the arrest of 22 Muslims and the demolition of three houses belonging to members of the Muslims community in the last one week.
Ministers also made controversial remarks on Muslims going to watch the Garba events.
“Garba pandals are becoming a medium of love jihad and those who don’t have any faith in Maa Durga shouldn’t go to Garba,” state Culture Minister Usha Thakur had said on September 9.
Even state Home Minister Narottam Mishra announced on September 27 that it was necessary to show identity cards before entering Garba venues.
In Indore, the police arrested 14 Muslim men because they went to watch the Garba event being performed to celebrate the Navaratri. They were arrested after Bajrang Dal men handed them to the police.
Those people have been booked under section 151 (knowingly joining or continuing in assembly of five or more persons likely to cause a disturbance of the public peace) of the Indian Penal Code at different police precincts.
On September 27, seven Muslim men were caught by Bajrang Dal members while they were taking pictures at a Garba venue in Pandrinath. They were handed over to the police at the Pandrinath police station. The police arrested them under section 151 and later released them on bail, said Satish Patel, town inspector, Pandrinath police station.
“Non-Hindus don’t have faith in goddess Durga and go to Garba to click pictures of women and to pass comments on them. For the security of women, we launched this campaign,” declared Bajrang Dal state president Tanu Sharma.
In Mandsaur, the police arrested seven people belonging to the minority community and demolished three houses belonging to the community following a clash between two groups at the Garba event.
“The panchayat department accessed the documents and found that the houses of three accused, including Salman’s father Aklu Pathan, Sohail’s father’s Jafar Khan and Raes Khan, were constructed without taking the building permissions. A notice was put up on October 3 and the houses were razed on October 4,” the Mandsaur SDM was quoted by Indian Express as saying.
SDM Sandeep Shiv said that the police have arrested seven people after the clashes between two groups. They were accused of pelting stones at the Garba event.
Muslims from the area continue to live in fear as other houses can also be demolished.
“On duty police officers are murmuring that the houses of all 19 accused will be demolished. There are 29 Muslims homes in the village; if the administration demolishes the remaining 16, nothing will be left in the village for us,” a local told NewsClick requesting anonymity.
Reacting to the demolitions, Congress’s national spokesperson said, “If this isn’t state complicit terrorising minorities, what is? Razing homes of three Muslims in Mandsaur on the basis of a WhatsApp forward without getting a fair hearing cannot be the new normal in a nation based on rule of law. Shameful!”